Station Approach Vincent's WW2 Underground Shadow Factory, Reading 2018

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callumcrom00

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The story goes that Reading was one of the chosen production sites after the Vickers Supermarine Headquarters in Southampton was bombed in September 1940, later on it was then decided that using one factory was to tempting a target from German Bombers.

Therefore this meant Vincents opposite Reading Station, Great Western Motors on Vastern Road and Star Road were allocated for the construction of Spitfire, Wings, Fuselage and engines.

After the engines were checked and installed the aircrafts were then shipped of to RAF Henley On Thames over at Cockpole Green.

Its also said that Vickers Armstrong used Reading as dispersed production facility in World War 2 with major sub assemblies in Reading Town Centre this was, Central, Great Western and Vincent's Garages.

Also Miles Aircraft Factory in Woodley was another site were they produced training aircraft for the RAF (Royal Air Force).

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SamP

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I live in Reading and had no idea this was here (I'm pretty new to the scene)! Is it still accessible do you know?
 

night crawler

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How the hell did you get down there, is that the old subway from the railway station, that would have to be under the car park or the old Foster Wheeler building.
 

Mearing

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thats excellent but is 2 pics really all u got?
The story goes that Reading was one of the chosen production sites after the Vickers Supermarine Headquarters in Southampton was bombed in September 1940, later on it was then decided that using one factory was to tempting a target from German Bombers.

Therefore this meant Vincents opposite Reading Station, Great Western Motors on Vastern Road and Star Road were allocated for the construction of Spitfire, Wings, Fuselage and engines.

After the engines were checked and installed the aircrafts were then shipped of to RAF Henley On Thames over at Cockpole Green.

Its also said that Vickers Armstrong used Reading as dispersed production facility in World War 2 with major sub assemblies in Reading Town Centre this was, Central, Great Western and Vincent's Garages.

Also Miles Aircraft Factory in Woodley was another site were they produced training aircraft for the RAF (Royal Air Force).

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night crawler

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I'm not sure what you are getting at with just showing the two quotes, did you have something to add, I remember what the place looked like before the knocked the who area down and redeveloped it but as a kid you never knew what was there other that a car showroom
 

Mearing

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I'm not sure what you are getting at with just showing the two quotes, did you have something to add, I remember what the place looked like before the knocked the who area down and redeveloped it but as a kid you never knew what was there other that a car showroom
Unintentional, not sure what happened there,apologies!
 

Mearing

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I'm not sure what you are getting at with just showing the two quotes, did you have something to add, I remember what the place looked like before the knocked the who area down and redeveloped it but as a kid you never knew what was there other that a car showroom
Interested to hear about the dispersed production facilities in Reading as I lived there throughout the war and that was kept pretty quiet. However the following may be relevant. On the 10th of February 1943 at 4.30 pm a German Dornier 217 dropped a number of bombs on the town centre and machine gunned the town. I was leaving my school at that time and had a sight of the aircraft and its German national markings quite clearly, It was I guess from memory at a height of about 500 feet, very low anyway and travelling fast roughly southerly. There was considerable loss of life in the town mainly from a direct hit on The Peoples Pantry a government restaurant. The school it had overflown before passing over mine had been machine gunned but luckily for me not mine.Rumours abounded about a radio transmitting station located in the Peoples Pantry being the target but maybe the dispersed production facilities were known to German itelligence, Just a thought! I walked into town later and quite a number of buildings were badly damaged, I also remember seeing people helping themselves to the contents of a bombed shop that had spilled onto the road.The blitz spirit in evidence!

Anyway the original post triggered a lot of old memories. Thanks for that!
 

night crawler

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Blimey you were at school then o_O you must me getting on a bit then. I went to school in Reading (St James) then to Southcote (Hugh Faringdon) but that was in the late1950/60's which is how I remember Vincents I never knew about the bombing raid till a few years ago so I did a little research on it and wrote a blog which I notice I need to sort out because the photo off Flickr have gone but I did write this one Killed by Enemy Action. Reading was not the only place to get hit, Newbury did as well because I came across a long row of graves at the cemetery there. I'll sort out the other blog and post a link. St Laurence church still has the bullet marks and Queen Victoria has a missing finger from it
 

Mearing

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Blimey you were at school then o_O you must me getting on a bit then. I went to school in Reading (St James) then to Southcote (Hugh Faringdon) but that was in the late1950/60's which is how I remember Vincents I never knew about the bombing raid till a few years ago so I did a little research on it and wrote a blog which I notice I need to sort out because the photo off Flickr have gone but I did write this one Killed by Enemy Action. Reading was not the only place to get hit, Newbury did as well because I came across a long row of graves at the cemetery there. I'll sort out the other blog and post a link. St Laurence church still has the bullet marks and Queen Victoria has a missing finger from it
Yes,I suppose I am getting on a bit, I was 12 years old at the time of the raid! The schooll that was machine gunned amongst other places was Katesgrove school. Simonds brwery was hit and my father showed me holes imade by cannon shells in steel columns and a large hole in a corrugated iron roof where a bomb had pierced it and hit the concrete floor then bounced across the river without exploding! I read that the victims of the raid were buried in a communal grave it not being possible to identify some of them.
My family had left London on the outbreak of the war to avoid being bombed,, difficult to guess where one was safe!
Thanks for the information on your blog. The raids on Reading and Newbury are covered in detail in the following publication. "Thames Valley Airfields In The Second World War" ISBN 1 85306 633 8 pp236-240.
I didn't know about the bullet marks on St laurence Church nor Queen Victorias missing digit! I noticed lots of Shrapnel marks on London buildings post war and poor old Qheen Vics Statue in Leamington Spa has been moved on its plinth visibly by lblast.
 

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The tracery is from the church I think the finger is in the museum
 

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Hayman

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I often wonder about those almost random bombings by German aircraft during WWII. Thanks to the Baedeker guides of UK towns and cities readily available in the 1930s, we know they were used to direct bombing raids on larger towns and cities, and places with major railway junctions. But Newbury and Leamington Spa? Was it a matter of planes returning from planned raids still having bombs on board? Near where I was living during the war - in rural Sussex - a returning German plane dropped a bomb in open countryside, rather than take it back to Germany. It did not explode, but buried itself under the lane to our home.
 

night crawler

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I often wonder about those almost random bombings by German aircraft during WWII. Thanks to the Baedeker guides of UK towns and cities readily available in the 1930s, we know they were used to direct bombing raids on larger towns and cities, and places with major railway junctions. But Newbury and Leamington Spa? Was it a matter of planes returning from planned raids still having bombs on board? Near where I was living during the war - in rural Sussex - a returning German plane dropped a bomb in open countryside, rather than take it back to Germany. It did not explode, but buried itself under the lane to our home.
You might be right though I did read that three planes were involved in the area bombings and all were shot down
 

Mearing

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I often wonder about those almost random bombings by German aircraft during WWII. Thanks to the Baedeker guides of UK towns and cities readily available in the 1930s, we know they were used to direct bombing raids on larger towns and cities, and places with major railway junctions. But Newbury and Leamington Spa? Was it a matter of planes returning from planned raids still having bombs on board? Near where I was living during the war - in rural Sussex - a returning German plane dropped a bomb in open countryside, rather than take it back to Germany. It did not explode, but buried itself under the lane to our home.
Yes, many bombs were jettisoned for various reasons, but the Newbury & Reading raids have all the hallmarks of a daylight intruder raid which were common occurences, sometimes FW190 fighters being used for the purpose, these being fast enough to have a reasonable chance of evading pursuit.

The Leamington raid on the night of November 14th 1940 coincided with the big Coventry air raid so it seems likely that one stray Geman aircraft from that raid was responsible.

The 1942 Leamington raid was probably aimed at the industries manufacturing products for the miltiary, examples Lockheed, Fords Foundry & others making it a legitimate target, if there is any such thing.

But of course as you say many raids were random & opportunistic & not many air raid warnings were sounded in time.
 

Hayman

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Yes, many bombs were jettisoned for various reasons, but the Newbury & Reading raids have all the hallmarks of a daylight intruder raid which were common occurences, sometimes FW190 fighters being used for the purpose, these being fast enough to have a reasonable chance of evading pursuit.

The Leamington raid on the night of November 14th 1940 coincided with the big Coventry air raid so it seems likely that one stray Geman aircraft from that raid was responsible.

The 1942 Leamington raid was probably aimed at the industries manufacturing products for the miltiary, examples Lockheed, Fords Foundry & others making it a legitimate target, if there is any such thing.

But of course as you say many raids were random & opportunistic & not many air raid warnings were sounded in time.
It would help if we knew what information the Germans had when planning their air raids. It seems those by the RAF were of two types: the mass 1,000 bomber raids, and the very targeted raids. I imagine in both cases, there would have been aircraft that did not drop all their bomb loads on the intended targets. One thought: a bomb not dropped on the planned target is largely wasted by dropping it almost for the sake of getting rid of it.
 

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