Local history society carry out annual wreath laying ceremony
The people who died in the V2 attack. Picture: Chiswick Local Studies & Archives
The Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society laid a wreath this Tuesday (8 September) evening on Staveley Road to mark the anniversary of the first V2 strike on the country and commemorate the people who died.
They have been performing this ceremony since 2004 when a permanent memorial to the victims was installed near the blast site.
The V2 rocket landed in the centre of Staveley Road, towards the junction with Burlington Lane on 8 September, 1944. The memorial is close to this spot, where today there is a small electricity sub-station.
Three people died and 22 were injured, 11 houses were demolished and 27 more were seriously damaged in the immediate area.
Initially the authorities announced that the explosion was due to a gas leak as they were worried about the propaganda potential of the Nazi's new weapon.
The wreath at the memorial on Staveley Road. Picture: Val Bott
Ada and William Harrison ran the sweetshop and newsagents called Bonanza, which was opposite Chiswick station on the corner of Park Road (now part of the Co-op), a short walk away from their home at no 3 Staveley Road. Robert Stubbs, caretaker of Staveley Road School (now demolished), was crossing the school playing field and was blown 20 feet by the blast. He told a News Chronicle reporter at the time "I picked myself up and staggered to the nearest wrecked house. A woman - I later learnt it was Mrs Harrison - crawled out of the wreckage and died in my arms" . She was 68 years old. Ten others were seriously injured, one of whom was Ada's husband. He was badly injured and died in 1947.
William and Ada Harrison. Picture: Chiswick Local Studies & Archives
Rosemary Clarke, aged 3, lived at no 1 Staveley Road. The photo was donated by her brother who was playing in the bathroom with a model boat when the V2 landed; his hand was injured and a small piece of shrapnel remained under the skin in 2004 when he attended the unveiling of the memorial. He told us Rosemary died in her cot in a front bedroom; she was suffocated by the blast but showed no sign of any injury.
Rosemary Clarke. Picture: Chiswick Local Studies & Archives
Sapper Browning was wrongly identified as Frank in contemporary press reports, something which upset his family and which it is now important to record accurately. He was Sapper Bernard Hammerton Browning who lived in Elmwood Road. He was on leave and was walking towards Chiswick Station on the way to catch a train to visit his girlfriend. He was killed by the blast and, after he was buried in the cemetery at the southern end of Staveley Road, a few minutes' walk from where he died, he was given a white memorial stone as a serving soldier, marking this as a war grave.
Sapper Bernard Hammerton Browning. Picture: Chiswick Local Studies & Archives
September 11, 2020