top of page
larger area map.jpg

Dagnam Park V2 Rocket
and other 
WW2 damage

Dagnam Park V2 rocket crater

Over the years, it has often been suggested to me that Second World War bombs created some of the ponds in the park. The idea is very easily disproved because all of the ponds within the park are shown on maps prior to the war, most of them hundreds of years before the war. There is one exception, a very small pond in Hatters wood that could conceivably be put down to a high explosive bomb, but it would be very difficult to prove.

During the Second World War, several bombs fell in and around Dagnam Park, High explosive bombs probably up to 1000lb are recorded dropping in the park and the very much lighter incendaries are recorded by Dorina Neave herself. As far as is known none of these bombs have left visible traces.

Probably the most significant “bomb” to land in the park was a V2 rocket which exploded on the 21st January 1945 at 3.17pm, between The Priory and Dagnams, it is that explosion which is blamed for the structural damage to Dagnams.

According to "Hitler v Havering", by Peter Watt the impact was recorded as being 100 yards SE of Priory (I think this must be in error and should read NE) Two houses and farm buildings were seriously damaged and two serious injuries occurred. It was much closer to the Priory than to Dagnams. A memoir by the vicar of St Thomas's Church, Canon A. P. A. Gaze states that "significant damage was caused to the Priory". The explosion left a crater measuring 43' x 15' the remains of which can still be seen today.

 I suspect that an attempt was made to fill the crater shortly after the rocket exploded but the soil has subsided over the years and today the depression is clearly visible.

Alan Elkins who lived in Harold Hill through the fifties and sixties has recently informed me (2012) that he was a friend of the tenant of the North Lodge, he states that this pond/depression was on his route to the lodge and it was an obvious feature in the early sixties, so my guess that an attempt was made to backfill it is possibly incorrect or at best it was unsuccessful.

It could simply be that I tended to walk the fields along the hedgerows and consequently overlooked it. .........Del Smith


Below the crater as it could be seen in the summer of 2004.


Drone image taken by Tim Doman 400 ft in 2017

V2 Drone photo Peter Doman 2017.jpg

Pic by Belinda Bearman in January 2018

v2 crater belinda bearman jan 2018 reduced.jpg
Aerial photo get mapping v2 crater 2.jpg

V2s carried about 2,200 lbs of high explosive, which detonated after the rocket had penetrated the ground, depending on ground conditions they could cause a crater up to 30 metres in diameter. The 1946 aerial photograph shows the crater of the Dagnam Park rocket. The 1999 picture shows the crater still visible from the air. On the ground, a very obvious depression is still clearly visible. This depression about 30' in diameter and apx 2' deep would contain water in the winter. The retention of water has led to the colonisation of marginal water plants which pick out the depression from the surrounding meadow grasses, thistles etc. This “pond” is not shown on any maps prior to 1945 whereas all of the ponds in the park of a similar size are shown. 


The caretaker of Dagnams who stole the lead from the roof is usually blamed for the demise of the Dagnams mansion, some blame the council of the time, but it may well be the case that Hitler had something to do with it............. Del Smith. 2004.


Since this was written the Nature Reserve has been created and much additional land has been included. The Osiers is now within the park and Peter Adams has kindly contributed information and images on three high explosive bombs that fell there in 1941. Scroll to the end to view this information......Del Smith.  2018

V2 debris  Peter Adams.jpg

Peter Adams has kindly provided the above photographof rocket fragments that he detected around the site he states...

"I collected these 25 years ago in the early 90s when the field was ploughed for the first time since the war. During the early 90s after Farmer Quilter retired he sublet his farm to Scott Bird who dragged the fallen trees off of the three fields between the Perch pond and the Priory and ploughed it all to grow corn. The fallen horse chestnut trees at the back of the Perch pond included. The fields were small and irregular but he gave it a go for a couple of years.

Another interesting thing that showed up after the ploughing was the gravel path that is on the 1660s painting, it went on past the Perch pond and petered out near the large Oak tree. I asked Mr Quilter about the V2 and he said they were in the milking shed and all the dust come down from the rafters with the explosion. He also mentioned the V1 flying bomb that demolished Cummings hall farm had also shifted his dads bungalow on its damp proof foundations"

And above right. A curious story could this have been the V2 crater and who were the boys?

Dorina account of Blitz

Below  a cutting from the Medicine Hat News 26 July 1941 p2. Discovered by Don Tait.

It shows that Dorina Neave still had occupation of Dagnams on 7th September 1940. A rare occount of the blitz over Dagnams

Medicine Hat News 26 July 1941 p2_edited

A Video Dramatization based on the above Account , by Pete Riley


Our thanks to Peter Adams who has allowed us to publish his images of the three craters taken in The Osiers in June 2018. He writes that the one depicted below is heavily poached by deer. He has regularly seen deer in and around the pool. The other two craters look undisturbed. He points out that according to the book Hitler v Havering, page 175, researched and compiled by Peter Watt and published by Carlton Armitage Press in 1994, three high explosive bombs fell in Dagnam Park at 4.10am on the 11th May 1941. It's hard to imagine that this entry doesn't refer to the three Osier's craters.

The Osiers Peter Adams 2 June 2018.jpg
The Osiers Peter Adams 3 June 2018.jpg
The Osiers Peter Adams June 2018.jpg
bottom of page