Blown Up By Robot
Hopedale Couple's Son
Lives to Tell of His
son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Midgley of Hopedale, who has written to his father and mother of his terrifying
The younger Mr. Midgley's wife had her ankle broken, a heel bone split and is suffering from shock in a
London hospital. He received only a minor case of shock, although both were thrown into the water and all
their night clothing blown off by the bomb blast.
The experience of watching the bomb descend and being unable to do to save themselves, is vividly
described in the following letter from Mr. Midgley, Jr.
Mr. Midgley is foreman of a factory employing 400 hands engaged in the manufacture of airplane parts.
His brother, Sgt. Wilfrid Midgley, is a prisoner of the Japanese, having been taken during the battle on
Malay, two years ago, last January. His family hears from him about twice each year, his letters stating that
he is well and working for his captors.
Grove Park Rd. No. 7
Dear Mother and Dad:
You'll have received my telegram a long time ago. So I will tell you all about it.
We had had two nights and a day of robot bombs and had got totally fed up with them, so on Saturday
night, June 17th, we were in bed in the saloon of the yacht, tired out before the sirens went and we never
Well, we slept all night, never hearing a thing, though the gunfire and the number of bombs were the
worst night we had had.
At about 4:15 a.m. Sherry woke me up saying one was coming down, and believe it or not, we could see it
(the flames coming out of the exhaust) through the port hole without moving; anyway we were too paralyzed
I cannot describe the fear that went through me. The bomb came down and cleared my cockpit with about
a foot to spare and it hit the firefloat to which my yacht was moored and we used for a landing quay. The
bomb exploded in the firefloat (which is a barge with a fire pump on it for fighting fires), exactly seven feet
from where we were laying, blowing both my yacht and the firefloat to matchwood and Sherry and found
ourselves 10 feet down in the water with the debris from both ships holding us down.
How we got to the surface is something which we will never know; Sherry was unconscious and I brought
her up by her hair.
Sherry came to in a few minutes on the surface and somehow I put her on some wood that was floating.
By this time people from other boats had come round and only one fellow noticed us, as it was half dark
and the others had seen the bomb hit direct, so took it that it was impossible for us to live and therefore
concentrated on the other yachts to see if there were any other casualties. The man that saw us got hold of
a dingy and was only able to get Sherry to the first aid post first as her ankle was broken. So I was left
swimming around in a six foot circle for half an hour until the others noticed me.
I could not possibly get out of this circle, as the wreckage was too thick for me to get away from it and
swim to shore.
Sherry and I had all our pajamas blown off us with the blast and found ourselves in the nude.
Anyway, Sherry is now in the hospital suffering from shock, a broken ankle, and a split heel bone.
I came out of it with only a few cuts and a mild case of shock. I was out of the hospital the next day.
As you probably have gathered by this time our clothes and everything are a total loss, but we have both
got our lives, which is the main thing.
When Sherry comes out of the hospital I am going to send her into the country to rest her nerves, as she
seems to have had them thoroughly wrecked.
I am living with a friend who has evacuated his wife and child after that episode and we are living like two
Ken's mother (by the way, his name is Kenneth Frisby) comes in every morning and tidies the place up for
us and takes care of us.
I sure will be glad to get back over there when this is all over. Sherry and I were going to sail the yacht
over as it was a deep sea yacht, but that is impossible now.
I was fully insured, so I have not had a financial loss.
If any silk stockings are going homeless over there you know what to do with them as Sherry has lost her
Well, I have so many forms to fill out that I will have to close now. Milford Daily News, July 14, 1944
The Midgleys in the 1940 Hopedale directory:
Arthur 37 24 Freedom Street
Annie 39 24 Freedom Street
John 57 171Dutcher Street
Annie 56 171 Dutcher Street
Donald 21 171 Dutcher Street
Harold 32 5 Cross Street
Maude 33 5 Cross Street
Harry 60 63 Freedom Street
Clara 59 63 Freedom Street
Raymond 23 63 Freedom Street
Mary 24 63 Freedom Street
The "robot bomb" must have been the German V-1. The first V-2s were fired at London in September
1944. According to Wickipedia, 10,000 V-1s were fired at England, with 2,419 reaching the metropolitan
London area. They resulted in 5,500 deaths and 16,000 injuries. There were, of course, many more deaths
and injuries resulting from attacks by manned bombers and the V-2. You can find much more on the V-1s
and V-2s on Wickipedia and other websites.
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