Object of the month
The Police often received the first reports of wrecked aircraft, bodies floating ashore, mines and unexploded bombs. It was their job to deal with the initial situation and inform the proper authorities.
One such incident, which illustrates how the police worked, is best described in the words of Special Emergency Inspector Fred Wood:
“This is possibly the only photograph of a V2 in existence outside official headquarters. It landed one night in a field at Wrotham. I was Special Emergency Inspector at West Malling. There was no sign of an explosion. The actual object was about 20 feet long and varying in thickness between two and three feet in diameter. I got in touch with the RAF Research Intelligence Unit, who came and removed it to their Headquarters for full investigation. One of the officers informed me that the first V2 had fallen on the previous day in London. The man in the photo with me was the Assistant Civil Defence Officer at Gillingham, whom Inspector Bill Dryden, Gillingham (behind the camera) had brought over to see it.”
The biggest task undertaken by Kent Police during the war occurred when Kent became the front line defence against the flying bomb menace. The creation of gun emplacements coincided with the movement of very large numbers of American troops bound for Europe, conflicting with very high volumes of traffic travelling along the roads of Kent.