Living under the V-bombs in Belgium: witness stories of allied soldiers

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by pieterserrien, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. pieterserrien

    pieterserrien Member

    Dear all,

    I am looking for witness stories (interviews, memoirs, diaries...) of Allied (mostly American and British) soldiers who came to Belgium to help defend the cities Antwerp, Brussels and Liège against the V1 flying bombs.

    During the V-war in Belgium (1944-1945) 6448 Belgian civilians and 882 Allied soldiers lost their life. I am researching this forgotten story and I also want to give a voice to the soldiers who gave their life defending our people.

    I want to focus on some specific histories, such as:
    - The defense program Antwerp X under the command of general Armstrong
    - Men and women of the Anti-Aircraft units who got the job to shoot down as many V1's as possible
    - Pilots who did the same job in the air
    - Allied soldiers who were victims of V-bombings in Belgium, such as the V2 on Cinema Rex the 16th of december 1944, where 296 Allied soldiers died. 271 died, which brings the total to 567 deads by a single rocket. It was the most deadly V-bombing ever.

    Also other witness stories are welcome.

    Thanks,

    Pieter Serrien
    Belgian historian and writer

    pieter.serrien@gmail.com
    www.pieterserrien.be
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. pieterserrien

    pieterserrien Member

    Thanks, Clive.
     
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Perhaps you need some files copied from the UK's National Archives -

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_st=adv&_dss=range&_ro=any&_p=1925&search=r&_q=v+AND+rocket+defence

    As an example from the search results:
    Reference: WO 204/5363
    Description:
    Enemy flying bombs and rockets (V1 and V2): anti-aircraft defence planning papers
    Date: 1944 Aug.-1945 Mar.
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department 471.941
    Legal status: Public Record
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

    You never know what you might find in those files

    TD
     
  5. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Hi Pieter

    You might also want to look at this thread - http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/51114-on-this-day-in-ww2-v2-hits-rex-cinema-antwerp-killing-many-including-raf-men/

    Best wishes with your research.

    Cheer
     
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    My dad was an American mortar man in Belgium and he told me he was shaken awake one night by a V2 hitting Antwerp. I remember asking him what he did then. He said, "I crawled around looking for my helmet"

    Here's my dad and grandma.
     

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  7. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    And don't forget the terrier :)
     
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  8. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    From memoirs of Tony Hodge, a crew member on the salvage ship Gallions Reach:

    At Antwerp little had changed but we met some of the crew of the “Boston Salvor” (another salvage ship) who were being repatriated. While their ship was in dry dock, with nothing constructive to do, some of the crew had adopted the cafés of Schipperstraat as their haunts and others had taken to attending meetings of a religious sect. A bit exaggerated but we used to say that when you went aboard the ship, half the crew would say 'Brother, are you saved?' and the others would say, slurring their words, 'Have a drink old boy'.

    Luckily for both saints and sinners they were saved when a V2 landed on their ship while they were ashore at their various pursuits. The “Boston Salvor” had a very large towing Capstan aft and the rocket had landed on that, the blast went sideways and killed fourteen workers on the dockside but the three ship keepers who were forrard emerged shocked but uninjured. The drunks got back first and fed them hearty tots of rum & it was alleged that the next morning they asked “V2, what V2?
     
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