A service has been held to mark the moment 70 years ago when a V2 rocket fell on a New Cross street packed with shoppers, killing 168 people.

The explosion on November 25 1944, regarded as south London's worst wartime disaster, injured another 121 people, demolishing the Woolworths store in New Cross Road just after midday.

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New Cross had been crowded with Christmas shoppers who believed the worst bombings of the war were over and knew nothing of Hitler's new secret weapon with a warhead carrying 1,145lb of high explosive - far deadlier than its predecessor the V1 'doodlebug.'

As well as destroying Woolworths on the corner of Goodwood Road and the neighbouring Co-op, the V2 blast wrecked buildings between New Cross Gate Station and Deptford Town Hall.

This week, scores of people joined a service of remembrance led by Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Rev Michael Ipgrave at St James Hatcham Church.

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Among them was survivor John Warren, of St Donatt’s Road, who was just 14 when the rocket fell.

Recalling his experience five years ago, he said: "I heard this almighty bang and all the windows blew in.

"At a blink of the eye it could have hit my factory, 600 yards was nothing when you realise the rocket was going at 1,200mph.

"Although people got killed we were very fortunate, I feel very lucky to be here today."

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School children from St James Hatcham Church also joined in the service, reading from a book or remembrance and reciting the names of all those who lost their lives.

A particularly poignant moment arrived when the church bells chimed 168 for each victim before Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock planted a memorial tree.

Cedric Porter, a school governor who helped organise the event, said: "It does strike a real chord and people were very moved by it."