WHEATLEY Village History

Keep Calm and Carry On

‘Keep Calm and …’  Talking of shelters, at least one air raid shelter survives in Wheatley, and an incendiary bomb (now defused) which fell near the river.  Bulllngdon ARP recorded 51 air raids in 1940-45, including 240 HEx, 9 phosphor and 280 Incendiaries dropped, and a machine gun attack.  Two were killed and 10 injured.  Wheatley took at Ieast 8 explosive bombs and 100 incendiaries, Waterperry and Holton 7 explosives between them, and Tetsworth 11.  The main targets were the London to Birmingham Road, the railway bridge, where a bomb crater gave The Bridge Hotel its swimming pool, Cowley military vehicle factory and Oakley airfield.  Sometimes bombs were jettisoned by a He 11 or Do 17 with Iimited fuel range.  Castle Hill had a searchlight and the Horspath turn from Garsington Road an AA battery.

What goes up must come down:  spent AA cannon rounds turn up in Iocal gardens.  Most raids were in 1940, ‘Keep Calm’ year, but the surviving IB is from 1944 when a sapper corporal dropped into Lafford’s garage to defuse a stick of them which failed to detonate In soft riverside soil and gave one to village constable Don Cowan.  Forty seven houses were damaged in the area, 1940-45, and stone pigsties in London Rd back gardens gave good cover from shrapnel and from a direct house hit, but not much help if the pigsty were hit.  ‘Carry On’

John Fox, April 2012 (from the Wheatley Newsletter)

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