Home   Ashford   News   Article

Ashford: V-1 rocket, also known as the doodlebug, excavated in Packing Wood near Hamstreet

By Charlie Harman

Excavations are underway on a German cruise missile from the Second World War which was shot down by a pilot in mid-air and fell into a Kentish wood.

Some 74 years after it was hit on August 6, 1944, the largely-intact wreckage found in Packing Wood, near Hamstreet outside Ashford, is being surveyed to reveal the aim of the V-1 rocket's mission.

Archaeologists are digging out the crater and metallic remains of the missile, which was hit from the sky by a Polish allied fighter.

VIDEO: WW2 Doodlebug excavated

The world's first cruise missile, V-1 rockets were mostly launched from ramps in German-occupied territory and are remembered for the loud buzzing sound they made as they flew towards key targets in South East Britain - earning them the nicknames 'doodlebug' and 'buzz-bomb'.

The terror of those on the ground ramped up once the noise stopped abruptly, as this signified that the flying bomb would soon hit its intended target.

The V-1 wreckage is revealed in the crater it made over 70 years ago
The V-1 wreckage is revealed in the crater it made over 70 years ago

Over the nine months that V-1s, or Vergeltungswaffe 1 in German, were fired at England, 9,521 rockets were employed with more than a hundred hitting the country each day at the peak of their operation.

Reaching a maximum speed of 400mph and with a range of 160 miles, the so-called 'Vengeance weapons' killed 6,184 in total and caused nearly three times as many injuries.

A V-1 crossing the coast at dawn in June 1944
A V-1 crossing the coast at dawn in June 1944

The model being uncovered today was felled by a Polish pilot named F/Sgt. Donocik, and may shed more light on the eight-metre-long machines.

Award-winning archaeologist Colin Welch and his brother Sean are co-ordinating today's dig. Colin said: "The major target for these missiles most probably was London.

"Kent was never a target and the V-1s that fell were either brought down by fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft gun-fire, the balloon barrage or malfunction of the device.

"This site at Packing Wood is remarkable as it appears that the missile crashed pretty cleanly in that its remains are within the centre of the crater.

Colin Welch from Research Resources in the crater chatting to a volunteer. Picture: Paul Amos.
Colin Welch from Research Resources in the crater chatting to a volunteer. Picture: Paul Amos.
Pieces of the rocket have already been recovered
Pieces of the rocket have already been recovered

"It is very exciting to be conducting this dig which will allow us identify in what direction the impact occurred.

"It will also help us to fully record the investigation and ensure that the documentation is available for future researchers.

"Any remains uncovered will be used in future displays and exhibits will be used within our much larger project of the V weapon campaign against the UK.

"It may also help us to work out how these materials have survived after over 70 years - and after the detonation of a ton of high explosives."

Join the debate...
Comments |

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.

Follow us

Like Us on Facebook

Most popular

Kent Travel News

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More