Further Reading: 12 Seconds of Silence

12 Seconds of Silence: How a Team of Inventors, Tinkerers, and Spies Took Down a Nazi Superweapon, published Aug. 2020 by Mariner Books, describes the context and import of the July 3, 1944 buzz bomb attack. Author Jamie Holmes interweaves the race to leverage technology to intercept V1 weapons, including the possibility of chemical payloads, with the mandate of the 130th Chemical Processing Company to defend England in the event of a chemical weapon attack. As Holmes writes, the V1 would present a “profound test to the men of the 130th. But it would not be the test they prepared for.” On the cusp of the widespread introduction of the proximity fuse as a way of intercepting V1 buzz bombs and safeguarding England from chemical attacks, the 130th suffered its own buzz bomb attack.

Learn more at https://www.jamieholmesbooks.com/12-seconds-of-silence.

Samuel Edward “Ed” Hatch, 1925-2018

By Alex Schneider, Website Editor
Published: December 24, 2018

(Editor’s Note: Samuel Edward “Ed” Hatch, whose stories to his grandchildren prompted this website, died this past week at the age of 93. This website serves as a lasting tribute to Mr. Hatch and the 130th Chemical Processing Company, as well as all those who were killed by – or survived – the July 3, 1944 bombing at Sloane Court in London. The following is an obituary published in The Springfield Republican on December 24, 2018.)

Samuel Edward “Ed” Hatch, a World War Two Purple Heart veteran beloved by a generation of Springfield-area children as the host of “Uncle Ed’s Fun Club” on WWLP, died over the weekend at the age of 93. He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Freda, his children Tracy and David, son-in-law Bruce, his grandchildren, Alexander, Gabriel and Dalia, and his granddaughter-in-law Ariel. Mr. Hatch is predeceased by his parents David Herman Hatch and Esther Dann Hatch, and siblings Leon Hatch, Selma Caplan, and Hilda Goldstein.

Mr. Hatch served his country with honor in World War II. He was assigned to the 130th Chemical Processing Company in November 1943, and was stationed in England, France, and the Philippines. On July 3, 1944, just shy of his 20th birthday, Mr. Hatch survived a German V-1 “buzz bomb” explosion that took the lives of at least 66 American servicemen, the greatest loss of life for American servicemen due to a V-1 attack. The bomb claimed the life of Mr. Hatch’s army buddy, Theodore Booras of Lynn, Mass. Mr. Hatch wrote regularly of the impact of Mr. Booras’ sacrifice in letters to the Lynn Item, a newspaper in Lynn, Mass. At the close of the war, Mr. Hatch was honored with the Purple Heart. A plaque honoring his receipt of the Purple Heart is at the intersection of Dickenson and Converse Streets in Longmeadow.

Mr. Hatch lived most of his life in greater Springfield, and became a local treasure to those who knew him, someone who stayed near his roots in Springfield and embodied the City’s history and evolution. Born of modest means at Kenwood Park Terrace in the Forest Park section of Springfield, Mr. Hatch learned and lived by the phrase “moderation of all things,” wisdom passed on from his father, David. Mr. Hatch came of age during the Great Depression, and graduated from Springfield’s Classical High School with honors on the eve of World War II, in 1943. After the war, Mr. Hatch graduated with high honors from Boston University School of Communications on the GI Bill, and worked in radio and broadcasting.

Mr. Hatch is perhaps best known locally for his years as a news anchor and host of Uncle Ed’s Fun Club on WWLP-TV, channel 22. As Uncle Ed, Mr. Hatch entertained a generation of children with his caricatures in the time slot before the Howdy Doody show. Mr. Hatch later worked for the Social Security Administration in Holyoke, Mass. for more than 20 years.

Throughout his life, Mr. Hatch had a love of words, and penned many treasured, handwritten letters to his children and grandchildren, which often included poems and cartoons about their adventures.

Growing up, Mr. Hatch attended the original Kodimoh Synagogue in Springfield, which later became Kesser Israel Synagogue. His graveside funeral service will be held at the Kodimoh Cemetery, 350 King’s Highway, West Springfield, on Monday, December 24, 2018, at 1:00 pm. For further information or directions, please visit ascherzimmerman.com.

Published at http://obits.masslive.com/obituaries/masslive/obituary.aspx?n=samuel-edward-hatch&pid=191069761

Service Above All: Samuel Edward Hatch in His Own Words

Samuel E Hatch died on December 21, 2018, at the age of 93.  In June 2003, he recorded a full testimonial about his service during World War II.  Now, published in full for the first time on this website, is Mr. Hatch in his own words:

Updated Casualty Count – 66 Servicemen Killed in Bombing

London Memorial today can confirm an additional serviceman was killed on July 3, 1944 when a German buzz bomb landed on Sloane Court in London.  The known death toll due to the bombing is now 66 servicemen.

Private First Class Reidar C. G. Ogle was standing in front of 12 Sloane Court, the house in which he was billeted, within ten yards of the point of contact of the bomb with the street.  According to a letter sent on October 6, 1945 by Edward F. Witsell, Acting Adjutant General, to a member of Congress, “a thorough search of the area revealed no trace of him and he was reported missing in action as of 3 July 1944.  Subsequently, reports were received in the War Department which were considered sufficient to establish the fact that Private Ogle was killed in action on 3 July 1944, during the above mentioned enemy air raid on London.”  London Memorial recently obtained the letter in response to a FOIA request.

According to the newly released documents, only PFC Ogle’s “nude torso remained.”  There were “no marks of identification found.”  Because PFC Ogle was the only solider unaccounted for in the area, the remains were linked to PFC Ogle.

Separately, London Memorial can also now confirm based on military records that the following servicemen who died on July 3, 1944 in the UK were not killed in the Sloane Court blast:

  • Gresik, Herman E., Capt., 1313th Engineer General Service Regiment (died in Dorchester, England)
  • Whitten, James C., 3076th Ordinance Motor Vehicle Distribution Company (died in Glasgow, Scotland in car crash)
  • Foley Jr., John D., Cpl., 72nd Station Complement Squadron (died in Newport, Essex)

Pete Wood of London first identified the possibility that PFC Ogle might be connected to the July 3, 1944 bombing.  London Memorial then filed a FOIA request with the Army Freedom of Information Act Office back in 2014.


Bombing survivor honored at Purple Heart ceremony

On Monday, Longmeadow, Mass. honored a survivor of the July 3, 1944 bombing at its first Purple Heart Day ceremony.  Samuel E. Hatch was honored along with four other servicemen who received the Purple Heart during their military service.  For more, see the report by Western Mass News/Channel 40: http://www.westernmassnews.com/story/36079107/longmeadow-honors-purple-heart-recipients#.WYpem5FGfHI.email.

V-1 Up-close at the Smithsonian

The V-1 flying bomb – or buzz bomb – is not the largest aircraft at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but it was certainly one of the deadliest.  For this resident of the Washington, D.C. metro area, seeing the bomb in one of the busiest museums on the National Mall was difficult, especially given the tortured history the bomb represents.  And yet, to see it displayed in a museum, juxtaposed with NASA rockets and crowds of excited children, is fitting, because only here is this horrible bomb harmless.  May we see a day when bombs like this are only found in museums.


‘London Remembers’ Posts Bombing Details

The London Remembers website has posted details on the July 3, 1944 bombing at its website, https://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/sloane-court-east-bomb-wall-plaque. Thank you to that excellent website for their thoughtful and comprehensive work on a database of the memorials throughout London.

Were WACs killed on July 3, 1944?

Myth or Fact?: Rumors suggest members of the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) were killed during the Sloane Court bombing.

Fact: WACs were stationed at Sloane Court.

In a letter to her family back home in Evanston, Ill., Sgt. Jean Castles revealed her billet had been destroyed during the July 3, 1944 blast.  “Unless you have been on the scene of an incident, you can have no conception of it,” she wrote. “It is like living a play where you see all that happens, feel it, and are a part of it, yet you are in a dream.” Read More →

Names of the Fallen: In Detail

In partnership with Pete Wood of London, London Memorial is finalizing the list of casualties from the Sloane Court bombing.  Our sources include testimonials, gravesite databases, and local archival records.  Track our progress: Read More →

PBS story on Glenn Miller features London Memorial photos

The photos showing the devastation at Sloane Court on July 3, 1944 are remarkable.

And, as it turns out, hard to find anywhere else.

Oregon Public Broadcasting producers contacted London Memorial last year requesting to reuse the signal corps photos, explaining that they seemed to be available only from LondonMemorial.org.  Two of the photos were featured today on the latest PBS History Detectives segment, “The Disappearance of Glenn Miller.”

Glenn Miller, the band leader who went missing at the end of 1944, was stationed at Sloane Court up until July 2, 1944.  A V-1 flying bomb would kill more than 65 American servicemen the next day.

To learn more, take a look at the latest from PBS at http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/video/2365284626/