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Northfleet resident Arthur Rowbottom, 82, shares wartime pictures

By Jenna Dobbs

These pictures show the rubble left behind after bombs fell on Northfleet during the Second World War.

Buildings were left almost unrecognisable after the air raids which plagued the town during the 1939-45 conflict.

Messenger reader Arthur Rowbottom sent the photos in after reading Denis Llewellyn’s wartime memories in our January 3 edition.

Factory Road, Northfleet after an air raid during the war. In the doorway on the very left stands Fanny Harden, mother of war hero Henry "Eric" Harden. Picture: Gravesend Library (6705054)
Factory Road, Northfleet after an air raid during the war. In the doorway on the very left stands Fanny Harden, mother of war hero Henry "Eric" Harden. Picture: Gravesend Library (6705054)
Colyer Road School after it was hit by a bomb during an air raid, destroying a classroom used for woodwork and metalwork. Picture: Gravesend Library (6705061)
Colyer Road School after it was hit by a bomb during an air raid, destroying a classroom used for woodwork and metalwork. Picture: Gravesend Library (6705061)

The 82-year-old was born in Northfleet in 1936 and has lived in the area all his life.

He attended Dover Road School before moving to Colyer Road Secondary School in 1947, after the war ended.

The pictures include a snapshot of Mr Rowbottom’s late wife, Verity, who died 18-months-ago following a battle with Parkinson’s.

The pair, who married at St Botolph’s Church in Vicarage Drive, Northfleet, met after a chance encounter in the town, and remained together for 58 years.

Park Avenue, Northfleet, pictured on the 21st of December, 1943, after an air raid. Picture: The Ron Neudegg Collection, held by Gravesend Library (6705092)
Park Avenue, Northfleet, pictured on the 21st of December, 1943, after an air raid. Picture: The Ron Neudegg Collection, held by Gravesend Library (6705092)
Verity Rowbottom, pictured in 1953 with her aunt's dog at Springhead Nurseries, next to what is now the A2 (6705063)
Verity Rowbottom, pictured in 1953 with her aunt's dog at Springhead Nurseries, next to what is now the A2 (6705063)

Mrs Rowbottom was in the property in Factory Road, Northfleet, on the day the bomb which caused the damage shown dropped.

In the doorway on the very left stands her grandmother, Fanny Harden, whose son, Henry “Eric” Harden, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the war.

The 32-year-old, who died in 1945, was a lance-corporal in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

He is remembered as one of Gravesham’s greatest Second World War heroes.

If you have any wartime pictures you want to share with us, email gravesend@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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