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Kent's Doodlebug Summer: Pat Miles interview

By Chris Hunter

Pat Miles, of Pilots Place, Gravesend, recalled how her family had a near miss when the doodlebugs first hit Gravesend.

But others living nearby weren't so lucky as a row of houses was destroyed.

"In the summer of 1944 I was living at 54 The Terrace, Gravesend, with my mum and dad, brother Mick and extended family members," said Pat, now 80.

Pat Miles, of Pilots Place, Gravesend (9580219)
Pat Miles, of Pilots Place, Gravesend (9580219)

"The first doodlebug bombing I remember was when I was awoken by the sound of panic in the house and the doors and windows had been shattered.

"I was very young and would think I was very worried but I just remember hearing how my Uncle Reg had dived for cover...under the bed!

Pat Miles, as a youngster (9580248)
Pat Miles, as a youngster (9580248)

"The 'food office', as we knew it, was flattened, as were the row of houses (which are now flats) opposite the Gravesend Promenade Fort Gardens. A good friend of mine lived there and luckily survived.

"The other incident I remember was whilst I was in Gravesend town centre (outside the old Marks and Spencer) with my mum, the doodlebug came overhead and my mum grabbed my hand and we ran for cover but I can't remember where we ran to...75 years ago was a long time ago!"

  • A 27-year-old Gravesend servicemen was given the British Empire Medal for his action in destroying a high number of doodlebugs. Gunner JM Setters, of 48 Pelham Road, Gravesend, was awarded the honour in May 1945. His battery was based on the coast and played a major role in defending Kent from the bombs.

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