The newest Greenshields JCB depot in Barking is providing a very different service this Christmas. Following the surprising discovery of a German V2 ballistic missile in the River Roding in 1949, the highly rare artefact has recently been stored in the depot in the corner of the parts warehouse, as its next temporary home.
The V2 ballistic missile is of huge historical significance. Just five of the rockets are in existence worldwide and this example is in particularly good condition. Developed by a German defence general and a German rocket scientist, the infamous V2, which bombarded London and the South East in the final throes of the war, is now hailed as a feat of technological excellence and was the first long range missile to be actively used in combat. It could hurl a one ton warhead 50 miles high and hundreds of miles down to its target with devastating effect. The technology was later adapted to pioneer space travel!
The River Roding in Barking is opposite Greenshields JCB’s Barking Depot and home to a number of houseboats which were temporarily relocated whilst the river wall was being strengthened. Unbeknown to the occupants their floating homes were around right on top of a rocket that may just prove to be the one to hit a local church on a Sunday morning in 1945.
Today the missile has now found its permanent home and has been moved to the Valence House Museum in Dagenham for public display.