On 13 June 1944, the day the first flying bombs hit London. A week before, on D-Day, Allied armies had invaded German-occupied France. Soon after that first V1 strike, Soviet armies launched a massive offensive against German forces in Poland. From the skies over Germany, British and American bombers were able to raid German cities at will. In the face of this disastrous strategic situation, Germany deployed its 'revenge weapons in a bid to terrorise British civilians and undermine morale. Nazi propaganda hailed these weapons as 'wonder weapons' - also known as the 'doodlebugs' or 'buzz bombs' on account of the distinctive sound they made when in flight - were winged bombs powered by a jet engine. Launched from a ramp, or later from adapted bomber aircraft, the V1's straight and level flight meant that many were shot down before they reached their targets. 29 V1 Flying Bombs fell in the Borough during June - October 1944. They killed 13 people and injured 251. 86 properties were destroyed, 200 seriously damaged and 9,000 suffered blast damage.
The first V2 hit London on 8 September 1944. A streamlined rocket which stood as tall as a four-storey building. Powered by a rocket engine burning a mix of alcohol-water and liquid oxygen, the V2 blasted its way to the edge of space, before falling back to Earth at supersonic speed.