TO this day, Ray Howard bears the scars of the devastating wartime bomb attack on Canvey.

Although faded, 70 years on, they are still visible and provide a daily reminder to Ray of the horror of July 22, 1944.

At about 11.30am a Spitfire had been chasing a German V1 doodlebug flying bomb along the Thames, trying to stop it reaching London.

The usual practice was to try and upturn the bomb and leave it to explode at sea.

However, on that day, the doodlebug veered towards Canvey, narrowly missing the Red Cow pub – now the King Canute.

It landed on two homes in Deepwater Road, killing Ray’s brothers Eric, seven, Peter, five, and their cousin Betty Brace, who was delivering papers.

Neighbour Peg Scott was also killed.

The only bomb to drop on Canvey during the war wreaked havoc, injuring almost 30 people, causing extensive damage to more than 150 homes and a church.

Among the injured were Ray’s mum Elizabeth, who lost the baby she was carrying, and his older sister Doris.

But it was Ray, who was only two-and-a-half, who bore the brunt of the flying glass and shrapnel.

He spent the next six months in Rochford Hospital and for the next seven years of his life visited the hospital to have glass removed.

He still has some pieces of glass that cannot be removed.

Remembering the attack as the 70th anniversary approaches, he said: “I feel very lucky to be alive.

“Everything is a blank. All I remember is growing up to realise and remember having glass taken out of my body.

“I think it is a good thing I don’t remember it."

He will take part in a service in St Nicholas Church, in Long Road, Canvey, at 10am on Sunday to remember those killed, injured or affected by the bombing.
There will also be a history exhibition at the church and all are welcome