On Sunday 18 June 1944 the congregation assembled for morning service in the Guards Chapel in Wellington Barracks, St James s Park, central London. The service started at 11 am. Lord Hay had read the first lesson, and the Te Deum was about to begin, when the noise of a V1 was heard. The engine cut out. There was a brief silence, an intensive blue flash and an explosion and the roof collapsed, burying the congregation in ten feet of rubble. This was the most deadly V1 attack of the Second World War, and Jan Gore s painstakingly researched, graphic and moving account of the bombing and the aftermath tells the whole story. In vivid detail she describes the rescue effort which went on, day and night, for two days, and she records the names, circumstances and lives of each of the victims, and explains why they happened to be there. Her minutely detailed reconstruction of this tragic episode in the V1 campaign against London commemorates the dead and wounded, and it gives us today an absorbing insight into the wartime experience of all those whose lives were affected by it.
About the Author
Jan Gore is a researcher, writer and lecturer who has compiled biographies of the civilians who died during the Second World War in Bournemouth and Exmouth as well as in the Guards Chapel in London in 1944. In the past she has worked for GCHQ, Chatham House and has been a civil servant and librarian. She now lectures in French at Kingston University. She has recently been involved in assisting with a book about the Dorset artist and illustrator Rena Gardiner, and in working on an archive of her material at Cotehele.