First Doodlebug flies over Eastbourne

Looking Back war years: Channel View Road
Looking Back war years: Channel View Road

Looking Back takes up the story on June 13 1944 when the first flying bomb, the Doodle Bug, appeared over the country at 4am.

Mr Hardy writes, “The night was still and clear – so clear in fact that the first doodle was seen nearly 30 miles away from the top of Beachy Head.

It crashed in open country and did no damage. A confidential message was received by the Controller at 5.20pm: ‘The enemy last night used pilotless air craft’.

“A few nights later several more arrived and from that time there was a constant stream of these ‘infernal machines’.”

On June 18 a flying bomb fell in the triangle formed by Charleston Road, Milton Road and Mountney Road. It is believed the bomb had been damaged by AA fire out at sea. Considerable damage was caused to house property – seven of them were so badly damaged that they had to be demolished – and there was considerable blast damage over a wide area. There were 40 casualties.

On June 21 a doodle was shot down by fighters over the Downs and the following morning another flying bomb was shot down by a fighter at the entrance to Hampden Park, demolishing the chalet and the Park Keeper’s lodge.

Over the next two weeks we will finish our look at the book showing the rest of the photos, the roll of honour of the town’s dead, and maps of where the bombs fell.

The photographs show bomb damage in New Upperton Road, the heavily bombed public library, residents in Lushington Road admiring a photograph of war time leader Winston Churchill, bomb damage in Grove Road in front of the library, three residents standing on and surveying damaged properties in Channel View Road.