We host a varied and regular flow of events throughout the year. These events are a mixture of evening presentations and social events, local outdoor projects, walks and visits further afield to places of interest. If you know of new topics or fresh approaches to events, visits and projects, the Committee would like to hear from you. Reports on those events can be found using this link.
13th November: Archaeology of the V2 Rocket impact site in the Lyn Valley and A.G.M.
Following the Society’s short A.G.M., an audience of 50 people were treated to an absorbing presentation and exhibition about the V2 and V1 rockets but focused in particular to the case of a V2 rocket that exploded in the Lyn Valley on 17th February 1945 (red dot, right). We were privileged to see and hear about the recent archaeological dig conducted by expert brothers Sean and Colin Welch in the area of the Lyn Valley just below today’s Amethyst Horticulture site and St. Paul’s Court.
Between them, our speakers revealed not just facts about ‘our’ V2 rocket and “the dig” but placed it in the wider context of emerging German rocket technology and the geographic spread of impacts in the south-east. We were reminded that other parts of England also received V1 and V2 attention.
The V2 assaults on London, the principal target, were launched from the Hook of Holland, which gives the direction of travel for our V2. The impact site was on the west ‘bank’ of the Lyn Valley and it is this topography that explains the shape of the crater and the pattern of jettisoned fragments backwards as far as Ten Acre Farm. Mr. Mitchell, from Bumpit Farm showed the archaeologists a chuck of debris found in their orchard at the time – a chunk that had served as a door-stop in their piggery for 70 years! The recovered fragments were identified on a cut-away diagram to show the origin of the recovered 153.5 kg. Bear in mind that most of the original mass of 12.98 tons was atomised. The fragments were mixed with miscellaneous detritus from dumping of bedsteads and baths into the crater, to name a few!
The dig went to the bottom of the hole at 5.7 metres. In order to bring the digger down to the bottom, a slope was cut that means not all of the hole has been fully excavated. To achieve that, there would be significant additional costs and time. Without additional funding that objective will not be achieved.
A very powerful tool, researched from official records by the presenters, was able to identify exactly the sites of V1 and V2 rockets across Kent and Essex. An animation revealed how variable the impact sites were, which reflected the inaccuracy of targeting. Of course, considering the V2 rockets were launched 60 miles into the stratosphere before free-falling at the speed of sound – perhaps the marvel is that they were quite accurate on that scale! The technical mastery of erecting the rockets, orienting them, priming and describing the parabola to London was remarkably innovative.
The ‘down’ side to this rocket, compared to the “Doodlebug” was that it was massively resource-intensive. It was explained to us that Hitler threw his weight behind the rockets as instruments of terror rather than destruction. His intervention saved Britain from a much increased flow of V1’s.
We are grateful to Sean and Colin for the presentation copy of their well-illustrated Report for the Society’s records. A5 copies of this report were sold during the evening. These proved popular as a remarkable record of a thoroughly engaging evening and piece of our local history. Mounted fragments of otherwise useless shrapnel were also sold as mementos – their contortion spoke of the violence the fragments had met.
Several of the audience considered this to be one of the finest presentations we have been privileged to host. If you know of any avenues they might explore for funding a “Part 2” excavation to complete the picture, please let us know so we can pass on suggestions to Colin and Sean – the cost of hiring a large digger alone is quite a chunk to bear without help. Otherwise, please email them directly using email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
28th November: Restoring hollies at the Parish Boundary opposite Sandown Cottages
It is with thanks to Fiona Boucher that a small party of us joined Bob and Norma Baxter and Mary Fielding to mark the restoration of hollies at our boundary opposite Sandown Cottages. The original hollies (planted in 2003 by Bob, Norma and Mary) were a casualty of a clearance of a scruffy and overgrown hedge that the Boucher family have now replanted with a very important mixture of native hedging trees, now including hollies donated by Fiona Boucher. You can read the original story as updated using this link.
20th December: Members Only Christmas Party
One of our best attended seasonal celebrations - there was some fine singing, much merriment, some prancing to "The Twelve Days of Christmas", many old friends joining again to share a comfortable and comforting event that has been a key feature of this Society's year. Members were served up the usual amazing range of sweet and savoury food together with Alistair's punch (alcoholic and non alcoholic). Thanks to Bob Baxter for sharing his photographs (below) of our throng being accompanied by Norma Baxter on keyboard (thanks also to Jo Sidney for letting us use her keyboard). Altogether a fine way to prepare for Christmas. Thank you everyone for your support, appetite and good voice.
24th January: R.N.L.I. then and now.
8.00 p.m.: Presentation from members of Sheerness R.NL.I. Station, which helps protect and save lives on the waters around The Swale, Medway and Thames Estuary.
Venue: Lynsted Church
24th February: Society Fun Quiz Night
Member Bookings of tables take precedence. All proceeds will go to the R.N.L.I. Further details will be sent to Members closer to the time.
21st March: Stained Glass of Kent
8pm: Presentation by Dick Bolton, who will also focus on our local stained glass alongside other examples in Kent.