Living in St Albans during WW2

By Eamonn O'Malley

I was born in 1938, so I can remember the latter part of the war. I can clearly remember the “doodle-bugs” (V1 rockets) and the sound they made, rather like a 500cc motor-bike with no silencer. When the sound stopped, that was when they dropped. I can remember one night being in bed between my parents and one flew over very close to us. We were very scared of that one. The motor stopped, it seemed right above us, and I remember my mother saying to my father in a faltering voice, “This one’s for us, Eddie”. And then we heard a terrific explosion quite nearby. I think it hit two houses in Camp Road, because I later saw a new bomb site there, just near Hill End hospital. We lived in Hedley Road, about equi-distant from de Havillands and Handley Page aircraft factories, but we had very few bombs drop in the area.

I read the article by Kevin Ellis about Boxmoor during WW2 and realised that he is of the same family that my parents knew. We used to visit them, and I clearly remember him and his parents. I think the war was still on when I last saw him.

This page was added on 30/06/2013.

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  • I was born in 1935 in STAlbans Hosp. lived at 19 Laburnam Grove Chiswell Green ST Albans.. I rember a bomb falling in LaburnaM Grove just short of our house blowing all windows out part ceiling doors ect As Houses had not been completed the otherside of RD most of the blast went the opposite way to us. We used to play in the crater left by bomb. which had been aimed at Handley Page in Elestree
    Is there any record of this.
    cant remember exactly when bomb fall must have been in early part of war.
    email me at
    many thanks Ian

    By Ian Kemp (04/08/2021)
  • Very sad.

    By Colin Hazell (25/07/2020)
  • The girl was Sylvia Holiday aged 7 : Report from The Herts Advertiser Friday 15 November 1940. About the bombs that fell Saturday 9 November 1940 – 4 Died: Mrs Doris Holloway (Aged 31 ) Her daughter Sylvia Holloway (Aged 7) Emmanual Woolf A Commercial Traveller (aged 50) Mr A Williams (Aged 49)


    By Raff (07/11/2018)
  • I also remember the demolished houses in Camp Road. I was born in 1940 and we lived in Royston Road.

    The first V1’s were launched on 13th June 1944.

    For those who have not seen it the book ‘Hatfield at war’ is interesting and it was written by my cousin, Brian Lawrence.


    By Peter Valentine (04/10/2014)
  • Hi Eamonn,I remember the two houses being demolished near Hill End Hospital because a girl in my class at Fleetville was killed there.  It was very early in the war, around the beginning of 1941 before doodle bugs appeared.  I can’t remember the girls name but she had just been given a tricycle for Christmas which made us all very envious.

    By Stewart West (11/08/2014)