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German bomb parts excavated in Kent village

By Natalie Tipping

Archaeologists have spent two days excavating a Second World War bomb site near Sittingbourne.

Towards the end of the conflict, the Germans unleashed weapons the likes of which had not been seen before.

An estimated 9,000 civilians were killed by V-2 attacks, and 12,000 labourers and concentration camp prisoners died as a result of being forced to help with production of the weapons.

From left, Colin Welch and his brother, Sean both Twentieth Century Heritage Archeologists in a field in Lynsted looking for fragments of a V2 rocket that landed there in 1945
From left, Colin Welch and his brother, Sean both Twentieth Century Heritage Archeologists in a field in Lynsted looking for fragments of a V2 rocket that landed there in 1945

The V-2 rockets were launched miles into the atmosphere before free-falling faster than the speed of sound, meaning victims never heard the bombs coming.

The vast majority of rockets which hit Kent were originally targetting the capital, but the missiles’ trajectories could not be accurately calculated.

One such rocket landed in the valley at Lynsted, at a spot which has been excavated by archaeologists Colin and Sean Welch.

It’s believed the rocket was launched from The Hague in Holland just five minutes before it impacted.

According to contemporary accounts, the force of the detonation blew nearby resident Graham Mitchellcor of Bumpit Farm out of bed and across the room.

The dig at the site off Lynsted Lane began in November 2017, going down close to six metres, and recovering more than 150kg of wreckage.

The archaeologist brothers continued excavating last weekend and found parts of a combustion chamber and engine, buried between six and 10 metres deep.

Colin Welch said: “My particular interest is to carry out these excavations in a forensic way, using classical and modern archaeological techniques.

“Our project has been to discover the mechanics of the missile, its history, the physics of the impact, and also to use our painstaking conservation techniques to be able to present the finds in a stable condition for the future.”

Mr Welch will be speaking about this excavation at the Sittingbourne Rotarians meeting on Monday, June 4.

The talk will be held in the evening, at a time to be confirmed, at Hempstead House Hotel in Bapchild.

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