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V-1 flying bomb rudder

V-1 flying bomb rudder
What was it used for? To steer a flying bomb
Where is it from? Abinger Common, Surrey
When was it made? 1944
How was it made? Riveted sheet metal
What was it made from? Aluminium
Size: H500mm, L 241mm
Museum number: LG.3450

This rudder was recovered from a V-1 that destroyed Abinger Common church in 1944. V-1 flying bombs were pulse jet powered unmanned aircraft. Nazi Germany developed the V-1 during World War II and many were used to attack London. The characteristic buzzing sound of the pulse jet led to the name 'buzz bomb' or 'doodlebug' for this weapon.

'V' stands for 'Vergeltungswaffe' or 'reprisal weapon'. The first V-1 was launched against London on the 13th June 1944. Nearly 10,000 were fired by the Nazis against southeast England. They had a guidance system to keep them on course, flying at a fixed altitude. After a pre-set distance, the bomb went into a dive and exploded on impact.

These weapons were early cruise missiles but were not very accurate. Many fell short of London and probably this was one. Five V-1s fell in Guildford borough during the war and there were others in the surrounding areas. The writing on the rudder, 'nicht anfassen', means 'do not touch'.

St James' Church in Abinger Common was virtually destroyed when the V-1 hit on 3 August 1944 shortly before 8am, just before a service was due to start. Many nearby cottages had windows blown out and tiles knocked off the roof but luckily, there were no casualties. Forty Italian prisoners of war from nearby camps helped to clear up the medieval church. The church was not rebuilt until 1951 due to shortages after the war. Unfortunately, the same church was struck by lightning in 1964, damaging the roof and spire. It was again rebuilt and stands today.