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Ken Costin's Blast From The Past!


'End of War' certificate was given to every school-child.

I was born in 1935 and spent the wartime years collecting incendiary

and shrapnel.

I lived in Flaxton Road at the junction with Raymere Gardens.

We lost the roof off our house three times, but never moved out.

The first blast I am aware of was in Barden Street on 17th October 1940. This was alongside the Church of the Ascension and was about 300 yards from our house, it killed three people.

Around the corner in Alabama Street on 20 March 1941 2000 hrs, a High Explosive Land Mine exploded, killing 27 people. This was the first bomb I remember to blast damage doors ceilings and remove tiles off the roof of the house.

Sometime in the early 1940's a German plane, probably a bomber, crash landed on Plumstead Common, near the Links RACS stores. You could sit in the cockpit for a fee, 6d ? Does anybody else remember this?

On 23 June 1944 a V1 doodlebug fell around the corner destroying Numbers 8-14 Duncroft and again taking the tiles off our house and bringing down ceilings, doors and windows. This killed 5 people.

On 26th February 1945, at 0910 hours, a V2 rocket fell on 42-44 Duncroft Road. This killed 13 and injured 87. I was blown through the fence of Timbercroft School, from the blast of a V2 rocket. I was not seriously injured, so I ran back home to find all the windows broken, doors blown off and the roof damaged again.
My sister was waiting at No 157 for her school friend, John, who was getting ready for school, when the V2 exploded. John was blown over in the kitchen before he heard the blast from the rocket. Again, they also was not seriously hurt.
My father had just turned into Duncroft Road; he was blown to the ground. He was on his way to visit two of his workman who was repairing war damage from the V1, on number 42 Duncroft. Unfortunately both the workmen were killed. They were:

Robert Allen Parvin and Thomas Alfred Thynne.

I believe that at least one them came from Scotland. I remember being shown a Scottish newspaper which had full page of cartoon strips, the first I had seen..

Two things puzzle me:

Why were we going to school ten minutes past nine?

I don't remember leaving home because of the damage.

Here is a list of those killed in the incidents mentioned in this story.

17 October 1940, Barden Street.

  • Alice Louisa BATTY
  • James Henry Daniel BATTY
  • James Henry William BATTY

20 March 1941, Alabama Street, at 2000 hrs, a High Explosive Land Mine exploded

  • William Alfred BILLINGHURST aged 61.
  • Emma Elizabeth BILLINGHURST, his wife, aged 60.
  • Philip James BILLINGHURST, their son, aged26.
  • Louisa May BILLINGHURST, their daughter, aged 29.
  • Grace Elizabeth DENNISON, their elder daughter, aged 31 married to
  • Harry Alwen DENNISON.
  • Charles William CALLOW
  • Ethel Amelia CHURCH
  • Maurice Stanley GROOME
  • Eleanor Minnie NICHOLSON
  • Muriel Eleanor NICHOLSON
  • Constance Delicia PAGE
  • Albert Henry REEVES
  • Ann Kilby TAYLOR
  • Arthur Frederick TAYLOR
  • George Reginald TAYLOR
  • Annie Ethel THYNNE
  • Edith Deby VOICE

23 June 1944, 8-14 Duncroft Road, at 0655 hrs, a V1 Doodlebug exploded kiling 5 including:

  • Elizabeth HARDMAN,
  • Joan KIRBY
  • Louise KIRBY

26 February 1945, 40-45 Duncroft Road, at 0910 hrs, a V2 Rocket exploded, 13 killed, 87 injured.

  • William Cyril George EDMONDS, Police Constable
  • Ethel Maude EDMONDS, his wife
  • Leslie George Bert EDMONDS
  • Neillie LUDLOW
  • William James LUDLOW
  • Helen Hanton LUSH (nee LUDLOW)
  • Donald Walter LUSH, aged 11, a pupil of Timbercroft School.
  • Winifred NEWTON
  • Robert PARVIN, building labourer
  • Thomas Alfred THYNME, building labourer
  • Ethel PENNELL
  • George Robert PENNELL
  • Amy Alice TILBURY

Hannah Harris who was researching her family history come across her Great Uncle Phillip John Terrell's, death certificate, which stated that he had died on 23rd June 1944 at 8 Duncroft due to 'war operations'. So this was another victim's name to be added to the list of those killed. He was 46 at the time and worked at the Royal Arsenal as an examiner of ammunition.


Ken Costin

Here is a photo of Timbercroft School taken in July 1946.
(Click on photo for larger view)
Top row 2nd from the right - Valerie Huddy.
Bottom row (left to right) 3 - Anderson, 5 - Ken Costin, 7 - P. Watling, 11 - Susan Hedges, 12 - David Carrot

Here is a photo of Anaconda School taken in 1946.
(Click on photo for a larger view)

I am seated in the front row, third from the right.

Click on photo or a larger view.

Dig for victory certificate from show at club grounds in Swingate Lane.
(Click on image for a larger view)

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