A notable event, for the neighbourhood, in WW2 was the destruction of the Crooked Billet pub on Southborough Lane, half a mile to the north east, by a V2 rocket on 19th November 1944.
Locals say that they were initially told it was a gas explosion, so they wouldn’t panic at the inexplicable damage from the unknown new weapon. It was the largest single incident for casualties in the old Borough of Bromley during the Second World War: 27 people were killed and dozens more were injured, many very seriously. The Crooked Billet was rebuilt in 1957 and is now a Harvester restaurant.
The missile was launched from the Hook of Holland by a mobile battery:
Nov. 19, (21.12 hours) – Battery 444, Hoek van Holland, V-2 rocket fired, impacted Bromley, Kent. Direct hit on Crooked Billet public house. 26 Dead, 63 seriously injured. (*JP)
The British counter-intelligence had fed the Germans the mis-information that their V1 bombs were landing ten miles too far north, and the consequent adjustments meant that those that were not shot down in “bomb-alley” landed in this part of Kent.
Just half a mile north, this side of the Crooked Billet, in what is now Jubilee Country Park, was the Thornet Wood Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Site, one of a defensive ring of gun sites encircling London during the Second World War. **