Wartime street scene in Hackney© Hackney Archives

Between June 1944 and February 1945 Hackney residents were forced to take shelter once again, this time from the V-bombs which were fired day and night, from northern France and Holland. First came the V-1 bombs which looked like pilotless planes and made a distinctive sound which stopped when their power ran out. This warned those below that the bomb was about to drop. People called them ‘doodlebugs.’ Then came the V-2. These were massive rockets which were unseen and unheard, making it impossible for people to take shelter from them. V-2 rockets terrified people, they could destroy whole terraces in an instant.

You’d go shopping, you’d get halfway down the street and all of a sudden “umm umm– that’s it they was over,” ‘course you had to run for a shelter ‘coz they was the doodlebugs.” Maude