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Kent's Doodlebug Summer: Patrick Wicker interview

Patrick Wicker showed no fear when the doodlebugs soared over the Medway Towns.

He remembers his father's defiance too.

Aged just five, Patrick and his brothers and sisters loved trying to spot doodlebugs.

Patrick Wicker of the Weeds Wood Estate, Chatham.Picture: Chris Davey. (9234536)
Patrick Wicker of the Weeds Wood Estate, Chatham.Picture: Chris Davey. (9234536)

Though they lived in Darnley Road, Strood, they would head to Ordnance Street, Chatham, just to spot one of the rockets.

He said: "We loved watching them go over.

"We never had any fear, if they got us they got us, and if they didn't, they didn't.
"We did have a great time when we used to see the Spitfires take them down.

"We had a siren at the back of our garden and if we heard a doodlebug coming, we would ask the mister in charge if we could turn it on or off."

Mr Wicker, who now lives on Chatham's Weeds Wood Estate, and his brother Ronald, now 86, and sisters Greta, Margaret and Sheila, seemed to inherit their laugh-in-the-face-of-danger attitude from their father.

Exhebition on the Shorts Brothers.
By the Shorts Brothers Comemoritive Society.
Picture ANDREW WARDLEY(10434254)
Exhebition on the Shorts Brothers. By the Shorts Brothers Comemoritive Society. Picture ANDREW WARDLEY(10434254)

George Wicker worked on planes at Shorts Brothers Aviation on the Esplanade, Rochester.

Mr Wicker said: "Every time the siren went off, my mum, Lillie, would call my dad to come into the shelter.

"Dad would say 'if Hitler wants me, he can have me in my bed' and then he refused to leave the house.

"My dad never once went in the shelter, neither did my brother.

Patrick Wicker of the Weeds Wood Estate, Chatham aged about 7 or 8.Picture: Chris Davey. (9234584)
Patrick Wicker of the Weeds Wood Estate, Chatham aged about 7 or 8.Picture: Chris Davey. (9234584)

"We could hear the doodlebugs flying over, then when the noise stopped we would say, 'Oh someone's going to get it'."

Mr Wicker's dad enjoyed helping the community and would patrol the streets with a riffle, ready for the expected German invasion.

He said: "His rifle was never loaded though, goodness only knows what he was planning on doing if they did come over?

"Maybe he was planning on hitting them with it."


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