V1 Flying Bomb (1944)

St Audrey's destroyed

Jim Prettyman

St Audrey's School destroyed
Hatfield Library
Jim Prettyman

St Audrey’s Senior School Hatfield, was destroyed by a German V1 flying bomb (Doodlebug or Buzzbomb) in the early hours of 10th Oct 1944. In addition to destroying the school the bomb wrecked many houses in Endymion and Beaconsfield Road killing nine and injuring many others. I was 13 at the time and a member of the Boy Scouts (1st Hatfield Troop – Viscount Cranborne`s  Own). Our “Scouts” contributed to the Civil Defence in several ways throughout WW2. On this occasion we assisted in clearing the bomb damage. Our task was to help members of the RAF (Airfield Construction) from the nearby Mill Green Camp. They with their vehicles and equipment were clearing the remains of our school, removing it to gravel pits located between Hatfield and Sandridge. Our sombre mood through the loss of our school and the fatalities was matched by the autumnal misty day with overcast sky as we set about our work. In a moment of respite I saw through the mist, atop a distant heap of rubble, a solitary small book. A light breeze was flicking over the pages. The scene had a poignancy that drew me. It was to prove so for the book was a school New Testament Bible. It just had to be rescued. I still have it to today in memory of St. Audrey’s School and all that it meant to us. My school boyish hand at the time so recorded on the inside cover page.




This page was added on 11/08/2011.

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  • Ref Barbara Gault’s entry. Facinated to see your mention of your mother’s comment regarding your father being involved in the Home Guard and sabotage & espionage. Was he involved in the Auxiliary Forces? These were a last ditch line of defence in the case of invasion, set up at Churchill’s request. Very little is known about them due to secrecy. See the website Staybehinds.com. Your comments might be of use?

    By Tim Beesley (02/10/2020)
  • Dear Jeremy Cull
    I don’t think I ever knew you but your parents’ name certainly is familiar. My parents were Bill and Joan Street of Birchwood Avenue, oposite St Michael’s Church. My bothers (both older than me) were John and Adrian, I was born in 1950 and left in 1968 but Dad died there in 1990 and Mum in 2007. Dad was in the Hatfield Home Guard – I think based in Hatfield Park. Mum said, after his death, that he was in ‘sabotage and espionage’ – would this be true?

    By Barbara Gault (22/07/2019)
  • This wasn’t the only bomb to be dropped on Hatfield. My parents and sister Sheila lived at 20 Selwyn Crescent. That night (was it also in 1944?) my mother decided to put Sheila to sleep in the dining room instead of upstairs in her bedroom. Good thing she did, as when the bomb hit no. 2 Selwyn Crescent (killing Mrs Knight and her daughter Irene), the ceiling came down in the upstairs rooms. My father told me he saw the doodlebug coming between the houses opposite, narrowly missing the corner of our house before continuing on to hit no. 2. The tragedy of no. 2 was also that Mr Ron Knight had only left the house 20 minutes beforehand to get back to his regiment. Irene was my sister’s best friend. My mum and sister were evacuated to my aunt’s on the south coast, so that they could recuperate and my father could repair the house. It was a miracle they weren’t physically hurt, but I think they bore the psychological scars ever afterwards. I was born in 1947.

    By Christine Hinderlider (née Boreham) (29/07/2018)
  • My father his brother and parents lived in Clarke Road. They were asleep under a Morrison shelter in the kitchen. Their ceiling fell down and the tiles on the wall came off but no injuries. As a child, I grew up in Endymion Rd until 1970.

    By Jeremy Cull (01/08/2017)
  • My wife Diane lived in Endymion Road her name Diane Hetherington with her mother Ethel Hetherington Rolls her Nan Beatrice Rolls and Grandad Edward Rolls she was injured when the ceiling dust went into her eyes which she had to have removed, her mother covered her with her body. Her Nan was hit with a piece of glass in her cheek of which my wife has still got.

    By Robert Young (12/02/2017)