War arrives on Uckfield’s doorstep

Seventy years ago the air war over the south east of England was hotting up.world_war_II(2)

People living and working in Sussex and Kent were becoming ever more familiar with the sights and sounds of battle, writes Paul Watson.

The war was getting closer to their homes and it arrived on Uckfield’s doorstep on August 15, 1940.

This was just two days after the Luftwaffe launched its all-out assault on Britain; known as Aldertag (Eagle Day).

Up until then, most of the skirmishes had been over the sea as the German air force attacked convoys in the Channel or the Straits of Dover.

But on August 13 attacks began on RAF airfields, a tactic that came close to winning the Battle of Britain.

At the end of the Second World War, the Sussex Express and County Herald compiled and published a book which told much of the story of the bombing of East Sussex.

The following extract is taken from that book, The War in East Sussex:

The first bombs to fall at Uckfield were on August 15th, 1940, when one H.E. [high explosive] was dropped on the Rocks Estate and two at the Budletts, which killed two pigs on the farm of Mr Tom Grant.

The raiders then went on to Buxted where they dropped three high explosives and oil incendiary bomb near the studio of Mr and Mrs Ware which was extensively damaged but which was fortunately unoccupied at the time.

On the same day eight high explosives fell in the vicinity of Horney Common, Maresfield, killing five cows at Boring Wheel Farm, while one which dropped at Danehill, two at Flitteridge Farm, Fletching, and two at Chapelwood, Nutley, did no material damage.

The intruders were returning from a raid on Croydon and one ME 110 was brought down at Rotherfield and one ME 109 at Frant.

*Croydon aerodrome was at one time London’s airport. During the Battle of Britain it was a fighter station.

© Uckfield News

• This story first appeared on UckfieldNews.com on August 10, 2010.

See also:

Uckfield in the front line

Uckfield man recalls devastation of random bombing

Uckfield … a modern town

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