Seventy-five years ago on Saturday a young family was killed in a devastating German bombing raid that destroyed four homes.
Four family homes in Birling Road in Willesborough were destroyed in the attack on February 3 1943.
Among the victims were William and Adeline (Ann) Chamberlain and their young daughter Wendy, who were killed when their home took a direct hit in the Luftwaffe raid.
Hamstreet resident David Winder, 60, says his mother, Doris, and her family lived just two doors away from the Chamberlains at 80 Birling Road.
“They were literally just feet away from the devastation,” he said.
“I would imagine it was one of the worst bombings in Ashford as the houses were razed to the ground – it is thought they were aiming for the railway works.
“It is important to remember the victims with the anniversary – there are probably other events that are more significant, but this was in the centre of town and my mother says it was a scene of devastation.”
In 2016, the new £8.7million Housing and Care 21 complex – in Warren Lane next to the Ashford International Hotel and Drovers roundabout – was named Chamberlain Manor in memory of the family.
Mr Winder, a retired fleet director at Bombardier who served his apprenticeship at Chart Leacon in the 1970s, says his family survived the bombing by the “grace of God”.
They were awoken by the air raid siren and only just had time to reach their indoor shelter when the destruction occurred.
Mr Winder’s mother, now aged 87, was only 12 at the time and recalls being sent to school with her sister as normal on the day of the attack.
“The important thing for me is how close it came to obliterating my family,” Mr Winder added.
“The surrounding houses were damaged and my mum says ceilings were down, windows were smashed and pictures were off the walls.
“Coincidentally, that morning my father, Peter, who was on watch duty at the railway works, witnessed the bomber fly over and discharge its load, but it was some 10 years later before he met my mother.”
Do you remember the devastating Birling Road bombing? Write to Kentish Express, Unit 4, Park Mall shopping centre, Ashford, TN24 8RY or email kentishexpress@thekmgroup. co.uk
Wendy Chamberlain, three, and her parents Will, 34, and Adeline, 39, all died in their Birling Road home after it was hit by German bombs
Wendy Chamberlain’s grave in Bybrook cemetery, where the family is buried
Chamberlain Manor, in Warren Lane was named after the family
The Birling Road bombing February 3, 1943 in Ashford