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Author Topic: Explosion at Preston Hill, Shoreham (Kent), 22/1/44  (Read 416 times)
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John
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« on: October 17, 2012, 17:36:37 PM »

A single 1000kg parachute bomb or mine fell close to Preston Hill farmhouse at Shoreham (near Sevenoaks in Kent) in the early hours of 22nd January 1944. Landing 27' away from the NW corner of the building, the explosion had devastating results and caused the deaths of three of the occupants of the farm as well as injuring others. If the site can still be located today there could well be visible evidence of this incident - although the buildings were demolished, two oak trees nearby received 'wounds' that could still show, such as an 8" deep scar caused by a fragment of the bomb's casing.

The casualties from the explosion were as follows:

A) Mrs. Martha McCaughan, aged 50. (Mother). She was found dressed, dead on the bed in the living room beneath debris of the first floor joists and boards.

B) Isobel McCaughan, aged 10, rescued alive after two hours trapped under an iron bedstead and timbers in the living room. She sustained a fractured skull and heavy bruising.

C) Margaret McCaughan, aged 12. Found dead beneath Isobel.

D) Bertie NcCaughan, aged 5. Found dead beneath Isobel.

E) Fred McCaughan, aged 46. (Father). He suffered injuries to wrist, skull, a ruptured eardrum and shock. He had been outside the back door when the blast occurred, and was buried up to his waist in debris.

F) Albert McCaughan, aged 32. He was Fred's brother. Suffered head injuries. He was in Bedroom 2 at the time.

G) William McCaughan, aged 22. Suffered shock.

H) John McCaughan, aged 18. Shock and minor wrist injury.

I) Albert McCaughan, aged 16. Suffered shock. These three youths (G, H and I) were together in bedroom 3.

J) Mrs. Jean Wells, aged 20. The married daughter of Fred and Martha, she was in Bedroom 1 and was blown into the back garden, landing close to her father. She suffered cuts and bruises.

The doctor reported that "In the case of the three persons killed, the cause of death was pressure and suffocation from dust and debris.. the others were dazed, somewhat incoherent, but showed no signs of respiratory distress."

Photographs of the damaged buildings were taken that morning but as it was raining and dull, they didn't come out very well. The pictures I have added here were taken a week after the explosion, after the Rescue and Demolition Squad had cleared up the wreckage and pulled down the dangerous structures.

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"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." - George S. Patton
John
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 17:41:07 PM »

Plans and sketches of the damage, these were compiled on the day after the explosion.

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"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." - George S. Patton
Pete
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 17:52:44 PM »

On the East side of the A225 AP shows woods and a golf course. 1930s OS shows area as rifle range at right angles to the A225 and gun proofing range where the golf course is now.
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