TARGET : Aunt Annie, at "Highlands Villa", Baker's Lane, Dallington
I remember that it was still daylight on that Summer evening in 1944, and I was taking a break from the Operating Room of the Senlac Cinema, BATTLE, where I worked as a projectionist. Between reels it was our chosen duty to go out onto the flat roof above the Foyer and watch for signs of enemy activity in the skies overhead. We did not always get a warning siren during air raids, and it was our practice to show a slide on the screen informing our audience of any possible danger so that they could choose to stay in the building or seek shelter elsewhere.
On this particular evening, I was out on the roof looking Southwards towards Hastings, when I heard the unmistakeable sound of the DOODLEBUG. Almost immediately I spotted the pilotless aircraft coming straight towards me at a height of approximately 2,000 feet, flames belching from the rear of the engine. My instant reaction was to duck, but then I realised that it was far too high to have hit the Cinema and so I turned, keeping it in my sight, and watched it disappear out of view over Battle Abbey, heading North. Several seconds later, the engine STOPPED.
I waited for the BANG. . . . . . .
The following morning, I was informed that this V1 had hit the roof of my Aunt Annie's house in Dallington, just a few miles, as a doodlebug flies, from Battle. My Aunt Annie and my Uncle Dave had heard it coming and were quick enough to dive under their Morrison Table Shelter which undoubtedly saved their lives.
The house was a wreck, and Annie and Dave were evacuated to a neighbour's house where they stayed until the end of the war. Highlands Villa was eventually rebuilt to the original plans under a government "War Damage" scheme.
They didn't get my Aunt Annie