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Kent's Doodlebug Summer: David Doye interview

As a happily naive seven-year-old, Wouldham resident David Doye had no idea about the bleak purpose of a V1s.

Instead, thanks to his father, he believed they were planes carrying injured soldiers home and the flames let gunners know not to shoot.

Mr Doye, who was brought up in Welling, said: "One night we were stood out in the back garden and an aeroplane with flames coming out the back of it flew across the sky.

Memories of the Doodlebug summer, David Doye of Wouldham. Picture: Chris Davey..... (10529388)
Memories of the Doodlebug summer, David Doye of Wouldham. Picture: Chris Davey..... (10529388)

"I said 'look dad!' and he told me it was a hospital plane taking men home.

"All my life I have believed everything my dad told me so this was no different."

As time went on, and doodlebug's became more well-known, Mr Doye soon realised they were quite the opposite to this.

He remembers the German aircrafts, which were essentially bombs with wings, sounding like a motorbike engine.

"It was not a nice purring sound but more a sort of stuttering."

The 83-year-old recalls several houses just down the road getting hit by a doodlebug one night.

"It was on fire and such a mess.

"I didn't really find it scary because it was all I really knew, I was only four when the war started.

Memories of the Doodlebug summer, David Doye of Wouldham. Picture: Chris Davey..... (10529465)
Memories of the Doodlebug summer, David Doye of Wouldham. Picture: Chris Davey..... (10529465)

"You never got a quite night's sleep as there were bombs going off all the time.

"Actually, as a young boy, it was all rather exciting."

Mr Doye said how the doodlebugs were not very big and looked as if they flew very low.

"They didn't appear to be much higher than the roofs.

"You always knew when they were going to drop because the noise stopped and the flames went out."

Ack-ack guns used to shoot down enemy aircrafts were based in Danson Park, Bexleyheath, very near to Mr Doye's family home.

"We lived so close to the guns they ended up doing more damage to our house than the bombs. We always had cracked windows from the shaking."

But the ack-acks could not shoot down doodlebugs - they would have just exploded in the air, spreading shrapnel everywhere.


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