LAST weekend marked 75 years since a V-1 bomb landed in Goodworth Clatford and killed six people – including a family of three who had only arrived in the village that day after surviving attacks by the same weapon in London.

On July 14, 1944, a ‘doodlebug’ bomb devastated the centre of the village, destroying the school and damaging the Royal Oak pub to the extent that it had to be demolished.

William and Cecily Jones, both 33, and their 17-month old son Derek were killed in the attack. They had arrived in the village in the hopes of finding safety after fleeing London, in an area known as Doodlebug Alley.

John Roberts, who still lives in Andover, was staying at the Royal Oak at the time and remembers both the event and the family that died.

“They actually had come down that day because the husband had a few day’s holiday,” said John. “They were glad that they were out of Doodlebug Alley and could have a few days’ rest, and of course they all went to bed happily that night and that was it.”

Also killed in the attack were: Miss Ellen Tatford, 81, Mrs Florence Walton, 40, and Mrs Sylvia Church, 22.

John and his family had been staying at the Royal Oak, which was run by his great uncle Fred. They too had fled London after an earlier doodlebug attack left their home unfit to live in.

John said: “The council had kindly put an air raid shelter in the back garden. Not long after that, we had the doodlebug come in the back garden.

“Some of the houses got blown away. We heard all the bangs and crashes hit the air raid shelter. There was my mother, my two sisters, my brother and our pet dog Bobby.”

After the attack, John’s gran, who lived on the same road, contacted John’s great uncle Fred to ask if they could stay with him.

Shortly after, the doodlebug hit Goodworth Clatford.

John believes it may have been the farthest west that a doodlebug bomb strayed, and this time, there was no bomb shelter for his family.

He recalls his great uncle falling through the pub floor after the wooden boards in his bed gave way.

He said: “What happened is it caved in, the ceiling gave way and it went through into the bar floor. It took Fred two days to find his teeth.

“The pub was full of people. My mother and older brother and myself were in those rooms. My brother got away with it, but I got glass cuts and my mother got it in the leg. And we were taken off to a little hospital on Junction Road.”

John’s mother had contacted their father, who was working on a naval base at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, after their London home was bombed. He made plans to get the train and meet the rest of the family in Clatford.

John said: “He got out at the station in Andover and said to the porter, ‘Where do I go to get to Clatford?’ and the porter said, ‘Why you want to go to Clatford? They’ve just bombed the Royal Oak!’”

He added: “My mum used to say we lost two houses in a fortnight.”

Commemoration events were held over the weekend to remember the doodlebug landing.

An exhibition of photographs was shared at Clatford School on Thursday, ahead of a similar event, by invite only, at the Royal Oak on Saturday evening. A memorial service at St Peter’s church was then held on Sunday, July 14, at 11am.

John said: “We grieve for the loss of people and at the same time we say our thanks that we were spared. It’s hard to put into words really and I feel that ‘celebration’ is not the word for it. It’s remembering the memory that this disaster happened.”