Aerial bombardment of Great Britain first occurred during World War One. Zeppelins dropped bombs on Croydon in October 1915 and on 13th October 12 bombs were dropped by Zeppelin L13 on the St.Catherine’s area of Guildford. The sole casualty was one swan. The Second World War saw the first sustained bombing of Great Britain.

Even during World War II, aerial bombardment was comparatively unsophisticated. The German Air Force had few heavy bombers, their flying range was short and finding a target was often difficult. This led to important targets being missed and aircraft dumping bombs in order to increase the chances of getting home.

The main types of bombs used were high explosives and incendiaries but from 1944 the V.1 appeared. These were generally known as ‘doodlebugs’ or flying bombs. The target was usually London but many fell short or went astray as they were still largely untried and guidance systems were crude. Godstone, for example, received 95 hits. These stray bombs caused considerable damage to non-strategic targets such as schools and houses.

Part of a War Damage Assessment map for the Guildford area  (SHC Ref 6979/1/2)

Part of a War Damage Assessment map for the Guildford area
(SHC Ref 6979/1/2)

Evidence of bomb damage in Surrey is rapidly disappearing and physical evidence of bombing is mostly long gone. The first World War II bomb damage occurred 70 years ago. The number of people with personal experience of these events declines by the day. Personal memories also naturally blur with age. Contemporary accounts in local newspapers often lack detail because of wartime censorship. More recent newspapers sometimes include reminiscences but these are difficult to track down unless dates have been recorded or cuttings made. Reminiscences also appear in local history publications such as ‘Bramley’s Home Front’ and ‘Guildford: the war years’. Many counties have considerable published work on the Second World War but comprehensive accounts on Surrey have yet to be written.

50 Responses to Bomb Damage in Surrey

  1. Graham says:

    There is a well known “bomb crater” at the top of Reigate hill to the west of the monument and fort, but is it really a bomb crater is there any record or evidence. Could it be an early quarry pit?

    • charlie says:

      the crater you are describing on reigate hill is not from a bomb a low flying
      flying fortresse crashed ther ther is a remberance sign ther

  2. Frederick R Cole says:

    As. A child growing up in Camberley I played in bomb craters along side the maultway near the Jolly Farmer and after the war on the SW end of blackbushe airfield, in fact a Viking aircraft clipped the trees while attempting to land and finished upside down in one of them. Just one survivor

  3. Sarah Vazquez Farquhar says:

    During second world war at least two bombs hit Egham. My grandad Alexander Farquhar ser ved in the second world war and told me about two terrible episodes of bombings which hit Egham. One hit a shop in Egham High Street where a family with two children lived and two other young children were saying with them, the bomb ruined the building and three of the children were killed. Another bomb hit Mullens Road in Egham.
    If anyone would like anymore information about Egham and nearby My grandad is still alive and has a wonderful memory.

    • Debbie Bates says:

      Hi Sarah, do you belong to the Staines, Egham and Englefield Green Appreciation society on Facebook. It is an excellent historical group and if you let them know on there I’m sure they’ll have many questions. [https://www.facebook.com/groups/172692419600246/?fref=ts]

    • Colin says:

      Hello Sarah i lived in Egham..is your grandad still alive as i have a question for him . I see you post was 1 year ago.
      Please let me know
      Regards Colin

    • john belsey says:

      I lived in Warwick ave during WW2 A bomb dropped in a field just off thorpe lea road near its junction with muckhutch lane it blew out a lot of windows at the top of warwick ave .my dad Fred Belsey and Jock Stewart collected some of the shrapnel and etched a date on them, We lost thse in a house move.

    • Tony Knight says:

      Now 87 I lived in Midway Avenue Thorpe throughout the war (my father owned a gravel pit) although at fist cycled to school in Chertsey I subsequently went to boarding school in Hitchin. I well remember the following . A large oil bomb crater on Thorpe Green another hit a cottage in Rosemary Lane. Another bomb wiped out a family in a house just outside the gravel pit. From Midway Avenue we saw the hemisphere of London burning 18 miles away. WE saw most evenings the searchlights snd heavy ack ack guns firing at the German night bombers.and the dogfight trails in the sky during Battle of Britain. Alecr? a neighbour in Midway Avenue was the the wireless operator on HMS Cossack which released prisoners from a German prison ship. I saw the bombing of Vickers in Chertsey when the barrage balloons were first shot down in flames. An american flying fortress returning from a raid made a forced landing on Runnymede We local boys were able to crawl all over it. The morning after bombing of Chertsey I went to school as usual and saw a row of houses without any front with all their contents exposed. Italian prisoners worked daily in the Village farm and those of rank who were not required to work made baskets and entertained us lads . Spelthorne St. Mary was a house run by nuns who looked after those women who lost menfolk and my mother helped by having the odd one to our house for tea occasionally.

      • sally-ann says:

        hello Tony do you remember anything about Greenaway’s it was a WW1 children’s nursery school wick lane egham thanks

      • ,Hi, I lived a couple of doors away from those houses with no fronts left, our door was blown up the stairs and all the windows were broken. I was 7 when the war started. Several people were killed in the houses opposite. I collected shrapnel that had been buried deep in the oak tree nearby.

  4. Raymond Byrne says:

    A bomb landed on 3 Upper Gordon Road, Camberley. It destroyed the Victorian house that was there. In its place are three more modern houses. Two on its side of the road and one on the opposite side. There is a lead stained glass window in No 8 that was bowed inwards by the blast.

  5. Bill stacey says:

    Dear sir /madam I am trying to track down we’ve cd of a bomb dropped on my aunts house in the village of chilworth 88 new rd can you help please
    Regards bill stacey

    • diane thomson says:

      Dear Bill i remember seeing a picture of a bomb that fell at Miss Danns shop Recently. but cant remember where i saw it.
      You could try getting in touch with magaret Dierdren. Or Surrey history society they are helpful.
      Hope that helps

  6. Nova Atkinson says:

    Chobham Museum has a map used by the then Bagshot Rural District Council ( now the Surrey Heath Borough Council) to record the bombs which fell in their area in World War II.

  7. Have you any information on unexploded bomb in Farm Road Esher

  8. David Chessman says:

    I am searching for information on a searchlight/anti aircraft gun site in Egham Surrey, my friend was born on a disused site in 1946. Can you be of any help?

  9. terry jones says:

    any information about bombing near Frimley Green hospital July 1944.My mother remembers putting pillows over baby (me) to protect from falling ceiling plaster .

    • Harry (Roy) Wilcox says:

      I was an evacuee living in Frimley at the time and I didn’t know that there was a hospital at Frimley Green, you don’t mean Frimley Cottage Hospital right by Southgates Bakery and “The White Hart Hotel”?
      That would be about the same time that a Doodlebug, V1, exploded on the Grove. I wrote my experience on that incident in this forum below….

    • Teresa Coath says:

      My father was born in 1944 at Redhill Nursing Home during the Blitz.

  10. Eric Blayden says:

    I lived in Latimer Road, Godalming, Surrey during the war. While standing in the road I saw a V1 fly over and destroy property a half mile away on Holloway Hill. My Aunt and Uncle had their house bombed in Catteshall Lane, Godalming. They were out at the time. I believe that was the only bombing in the town.

    • Paul Dicker says:

      Hi Eric, i was wondering if you knew Norman Dicker (my father) he lived in Great George st Godalming during the war, he often talks about things he did & got up to while he was at school, he went to School at Moss Lane as his father did & i also. He is a care home & we often talk about Godalming. We are both very interested in Godalming war stories from the Second World War. If you would have the time to reply it would be good,
      Kind regards Paul

      • Eric Blayden says:

        Thanks Peter, if you contact me on my email which I hope will be forwarded to you I would try to find some common knowlegde on that time in our lives.. Best Wishes.. Eric

        • Eric Blayden says:

          If you receive my email address and want to contact me, please do so

          • John Fishlock says:

            Eric Did you go to Meadrow Secondary modern school if so you may be one of my class mates I went up to see the VI the next day with my father and brother all that was left was the tail fin the house opposite had the front wall blown out

      • AudreyHurst says:

        Hi Paul I knew your father well .I lived on Holloway Hill rec & used to play (knock about cricket ) with him ,Andy Garguilio ,Percy Woods (who has very recently died ) & Keith Sheirs,my maiden name was Wherrell.
        I Haagen often thought about him & the others & am so pleased to have news of him ,if you would like to email me would love to hear from you .re Eric from Latimer Rd ,as well as the doodle bug that fell at the top of Holloway Hill there was a bomb dropped in Grosvener Rd in I think 1939/40 ,I was in the shop at the time ,at the moment can’t remember where othe ones came down other than of course the very well known German plane that drashed at lodge bottom , I hope your dad is o k & able to remember what for me was very happy days ,

    • Andrew Denyer says:

      Did you know my dad? He lived in Latimer rs during the war his name was Michael denyer son of Jonny.

      • Eric Blayden says:

        Dear Andrew

        Yes I knew Michael, his brothers John and Christopher and I am sure a younger brother. They lived at No 9 and I lived at No13. If you would like more information let me know.

        Regards

        Eric

    • Hi Eric, I wonder if this was the same V1 that I saw explode into a hill. I was in St Dominics Open Air School in Hambledon, near Godalming. I was 12, the older boys said it was chased by a Tempest, but could easily have a Mustang. Both were very fast aircraft.

  11. russell says:

    Not sure of the date, but I think a bomb landed at ranmore common dorking,I lived at cotmandene,woke up with the lath and plaster ceiling hanging down over my bed[seemed like I was screaming for hours],also remember the VE party at the end of cotmandene,think I still have the photo? Anyone remember? I·m 76 now Still hanging on . best wishes to all

  12. philip vickers says:

    I published a family history entitled “Our Memories of the war 1939-1945” in 1998 which I gave to Woking District Council and Museum. Our home on Kettlewell Hill, Horsell, Woking, was straddled by 3 HE bombs and one incendiary. We were in what was know as “Bomb Alley” where German bombers jettisoned their bombs on their return flight to Germany. One V1 flew directly over our house and landed on Chobham Fire Station, two and a half miles away. We also received a lot of “window”, metallic slips dropped to disrupt radar. The Home Guard shed on Horsell Common received a direct hit but was empty at the time. On a train from Woking to London, nearby the track at Byfeleet, we were bombed (or V1 struck?) and we had to lie down on the floor of the compartment.

    • AudreyHurst says:

      Hi Phillip,
      I have been trying to find any books of the second war
      Would you tell me where I could get one if it is possible please

      • Harry {Roy) Wilcox says:

        Audrey, there must be hundreds of books on the second world war and the best way would be to visit your library and the staff will I am sure direct you to the best accounts of the war.
        I was a paperboy in 1944 and can vividly remember ‘D’-Day, the sky was just filled with DC 8s towing gliders and planes loaded with paratroopers heading toward Normandy. I have posted an account of a doodle-bug that exploded close to us on this forum…
        Roy Wilcox

  13. Harry (Roy) Wilcox says:

    I was an evacuee and lived with my three brothers in Frimley from 1940 to 1945.
    Our school was named St. James and our whole school went first to Brighton September 1939 and then we were all transferred to Frimley, when Dunkirk fell in 1940.
    I have many stories of my life living with Mr. and Mrs. James Chippington in Nayland Cottage, but the story I have is one day in 1944 swimming by myself in Tomlinscote Pond and I heard a ‘plane, obviously from the noise of the engine not one of ours, I then recognised it as a ‘Doodle-bug or German V1.
    Suddenly the engine cut out and it came gliding down, about 150′ directly over the lake and exploded on the Portsmouth Road about 200’ in front of the house where my younger brother lived on the Grove. I understand that it killed two WAAFs, who were sitting on a park bench near the road.
    Smoke and smell of cordite from the bomb was all around me, I then looked up again when I heard another ‘plane, which turned out to be an American Mustang and he did a victory roll.
    This event I have never forgotten and I am now 84 living in Dartmouth Nova Scotia, Canada.

  14. Ian morgan says:

    Someone once told me that there used to be an anti aircraft gun and searchlight on top of the cinema by the river in Stained,I don’t know if that was true or not..

  15. Lynley Soper says:

    According to family history our grandmother Elsie Dean was killed in a bomb raid. Her date of death is 14/7/1940 – address 26 Wolverton Avenue, Kingston. Does anyone know if there is any record of a bombing at this location or in close vicinity around this date? Or where I could look to find out?

  16. Steve says:

    Anyone know of a doodlebug or bombing north of Farnham, Crandall area, my mum seems to remember it, and my gran used to say about it when she was alive ?

    S R White

  17. G Warrington says:

    I am trying to date the bombing in Cranleigh of Mount Road
    I know four bombs were dropped from a lone plane – one falling on a policeman’s house (causing death) and one fell on “Hobart” Mount Road where I was staying at the time. Because it was a “time-bomb” we were able to leave the house while it was defused. We were housed above a pub in Ewhurst while the house was made habitable again.
    “Hobart” was the first house on the right after leaving the Horsham Road and was occupied by Mr & Mrs Longhurst. Neighbours were Hewitt, Andrews and Ansell
    Can anyone help me please.
    Gerald Warrington

  18. M Powell says:

    Mum lived in Shaford in the war and remembers a few incidents.A Doodlebug flew over the house.The engine cut out and it landed in Manor farm east Salford lane.My Grandad was on home guard duty in the box down by the railway.A stray bomb from the returning German bomber exploded 200 yards away.He was lucky and very shaken.A bomb exploded on the railway at Bramley and the ceiling came down.Not sure of times

  19. D P Harman says:

    Does any one remember all the bombing in Croydon Surrey ?
    I lived near Croydon Airport by Duppas Hill we were hit very badly

  20. Patrick Lee says:

    Hi everybody, reading your recollections on ww2 bombing in Surrey, I lived in Caterham very to close to RAF Kenley. Caterham also received many bomb hit’s. September 1940 Addison rd 5 killed, April 1940 Banstead rd 7 killed. June 1944 Coulsdon rd 2 killed just to name a few. I lived with my family at the bottom of St Michael’s rd Caterham our own home receiving some damage. My brothers and I are evacuated in June 1944 so some of the events above would include The Doodlebug raids. My name is Patrick Lee now living in Australia would love to hear from anyone who can recall anything of that time. Cheers from Australia patrick

  21. Graham Webster says:

    Does anyone have any information on an AA (anti-aircraft) battery on Chobham Common, please?

  22. David Grieve says:

    I was born at Surbiton Hospital 1939. We lived initially on Surbiton Hill above the station in Oakhill Road were bombed out in 1940. Eventually moved to Brunswick Lodge, Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton. I remember in the Summer of 1944, a V2 landed on the main railway line near where it crossing Claygate Lane. My mother and I were returning from shopping and jumped into the River Ryde for shelter. I remember seeing debris and bits of railway line in the sky above. Was anyone else a witness?

  23. john apps says:

    Hi Graham
    A B17 bomber returning damaged with a live bomb on board clipped the top of reigate hill and exploded leaving a gap in the trees and a crater in the ground
    All of the crew were killed

  24. Sue ( Royle) Paterson says:

    Not bomb related but downed aircraft . My dad , a teenager at the time lived on a farm at Holmbury st Mary and told story’s of having to go out when planes crashed with buckets to collect any remains. Horrendous for a thirteen yr old.

  25. I Am 86,I lived in Pyrcroft Road, Chertsey. A bomb landed just across the road from our house. Several people were killed. Our front door was blown up the stairs and all the windows broken. We were evacuated to my Grandmothers house in Addlestone. Doe’s anyone know the date of this event.
    I am writing an account of my early life, to put together a photo album with stories of my life in Chertsey. I remember a lot about the war, but some of the dates are not so clear.
    While I was in St Dominics Open Air School, Hambledon, Surrey. I saw a doodle bug being chased by a Tempest fighter, it was shot downl and made a hole in the skyline of a distant hill.
    It was 1943/4. I also saw the D day gliders and DC3’s flying over us. The air was full of them.

  26. Roy David Livermore says:

    There were quite a number of bombs dropped on and around Leigh, Surrey the largest that I remember was in Church road just passed the Church on the other side of the road in an orchard .It dropped partly in the orchard and partly on the Church road. it closed the road for about a week, until recently one could still see evidence of this.

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