HAVING been reading so much about weapons of mass destruction, or rather finding them, I myself had an experience during World War Two which shows the way things can be hidden.

A few weeks or so before the war ended, myself and about 40 other engineers were brought together from many units in a house in Holland. We had no idea of our destination, but with an armoured car, a few Bedford lorries and staff cars, we headed through Germany.

Pockets of German resistance were still operating, but we eventually arrived in Cuxhaven, a north German town.

We had been told that the Russians were in Lubeck and advancing fast, and then the reason for all this became apparent when we reached a large fir forest about seven miles from the town. In a clearing was a group of huts and quite a few VI rockets by the side of a railway emerging from underground.

We captured many people including a scientist, who we guarded in many of these huts for a while.

This was in fact a large V2 factory, completely hidden from view, mostly of course from aircraft.

We eventually, as a unit, after the war ended, fired the first V2 under British control in September 1946 in front of most top generals of the British Army. This was Hitler's secret weapon, and it was claimed that had they had it six months earlier they could have won the war, as there was no defence against it.

I have the original order of the day, thanking us, the Special Projectile Operating Group, for the final firing into the North Sea of this very remarkable weapon.

The foremost I would say of all rocketry, it was quite huge, towering towards the sky, going up quite slowly before dropping at right angles and then firing out over the North Sea.

The top brass of course had a large bunker built for protection in case it blew up on firing. We rankers had to stay in the open.


(ex REME, 1939-46)

Newcastle Street