V2 hits the Brush Factory at Waltham Cross
My Earliest Memory
By John Young
2 January 1945
My earliest memory is from 2 January 1945, a couple of weeks before my third birthday. I was living in Park Road, Waltham Cross.
At around 9:20 am, there was an explosion in the direction of my grandparents house in Trinity Lane. My mother was obviously concerned for her parents. She took me next door and left me with our neighbour while she rushed off to check on her parents.
I still have an image in my head of myself, in my fawn dressing gown, sitting on Mrs Briden’s lap in front of her black kitchen range when my Granddad appeared at the back door.
It turned out that a V2 rocket had landed on Chadwick & Shapcott’s Acorn Works – the Brush Factory on Waltham Cross High Street. The site is now occupied by Homebase. That means that the explosion was about halfway between our house and that of my grandparents.
I have only recently become aware that others in our family were even closer to the explosion. My mother’s sister was actually working at the Brush Factory when the rocket hit. Her daughter, nearly 17, was working at Webster’s the factory that used to stand to the north of Eleanor Cross Road near the railway. I have spoken to her recently and she tells me that her employer sent her off on her bike to check on her mother. Remarkably, she cannot remember any details of finding her mum on the day. Her mother did, however,come out of the incident without a scratch. Afterwards, she would not talk about her experience.
Sturla’s Brass Foundry
And it is worse that that for the family. My mother’s brother was also very close by at work in Sturla’s Brass Foundry. This was situated immediately to the south of the Brush factory Boundary on what is now Wickes’ Car Park. The Foundry is, of course commemorated in the name of the new road through to Park Lane – Sturlas Way.
I have always thought that I was lucky, being only about 300m from the event but I now know that my Aunt and my Uncle were both very much closer than that. What a traumatic day it must have been for the Suckling family. It is no wonder that I still remember it from such an early age.