A local historian is marking the 75th anniversary of a WWII pub bombing in Bromley which claimed the lives of 27 people.

On Sunday November 19, 1944, a V2 rocket was fired from the hook of Holland, reaching the forecourt of the Crooked Billet on Southborough Lane after a six minute journey.

The blast devastated the pub and a 300 yard radius, killing 27 people and wounding dozens more, in what was the largest single incident for casualties in Bromley throughout the war.

Jennie Randall, local historian and author of the book 'Not Forgotten – The Crooked Billet', has collected local memories of the tragedy to share at a talk next month.

William Jessop, who lived on Parkfield Way, less than 100 yards from the pub, said: “It was a cold, dark night with very low cloud and drizzle.

"There was no street lighting, with all the houses blacked out, as required by war time regulations.

"During the evening we could hear the dance band music from the Billet dance hall.

"Suddenly, there was a very big explosion, followed by complete silence, followed by the noise of the rocket engine.

"We could also hear the screams of people and heavy debris, including large pieces of concrete from the pub car park, thrown over the pub roof to land on our houses”.

Amongst the victims were rescue workers, killed or injured as the unstable ruins of the pub roof collapsed onto them.

The Crooked Billet, which still functions as a pub today, was almost completely destroyed, as were an adjacent row of cottages on Southborough Lane.

Major structural damage was caused to many local properties, as well as a number 94 bus, parked nearby, which had its roof ripped off by the force of the blast.

It was not until 2.30pm the following afternoon that the last of bodies of those killed were retrieved.

Kath Ricketts said: “I ran round there to be met by this tragic sight.

"The ARP, police and ambulance men were all working hard to get people out of the rubble, stretchers taken to ambulances, but many were already dead.

"The crowd stood in silence, shocked at what they were seeing.”

Sixty-six years after the incident, in 2011, a blue plaque was unveiled on the rebuilt Crooked Billet in memory of all those killed and injured.

Jennie Randall will be giving a talk at Petts Wood Library on November 15 at 2.15pm.

Tickets, which cost £1, can be reserved by calling the library on 01689-821607.