Spencer Todd, of Longlands, Dawlish, writes:

It was a tremendous interest to read your article about the involvement of Victor Hugo in the bombing of Newton Abbot.

I was just recovering from cerebro spinal meningitis at the BRI Bristol which had made me a cripple. My parents had taken me down to Wellington where I was born in l930 and then on Tuesday the 20th for a special surprise they took me by train to Teignmouth and then the ferry over to Shaldon where my uncle was the baker.

After tea on the beach, I could hear and see the bombs being dropped on Newton Abbot Station, followed by the three German planes, one of which was a JU88 probably Kgr 806, flying fast up the Teign estuary, machine gunning each side of the river and Shaldon Bridge on their way back to Germany.

We quickly got back to Teignmouth Station where an express train pulled up. It was a Cornish express train pulled by the famous King George V engine but because of the damage at Newton Abbot railway it was unable to go any further. All the passengers had to get off the train and transfer to coaches for their journeys to Plymouth and Cornwall.

That turned out to be a great help to us because that special engine had to travel backwards pulling the train up to Bristol. I wished I had possessed a camera to take photographs.

On our regturn jounrey between Teignmouth and Dawlish, one of the Hurricanes of 238 Squadron based up on Haldon, where the golf course is now, flew over the sea where we could see it and the pilot gave us a thumbs-up followed by a victory roll up into the sky. When we got home to Wellington, we heard on the BBC news that the three German planes had been shot down over the English Channel.

As contained in your article, there were 75 casualties and four deaths. A good friend of mine, Keith Green, of the Rock Christian Bookshop in Teignmouth, was a very young twin with his brother Tony living with their mother in 30 Torquay Road, which was completely destroyed with all the others shown on the photograph you publihsed with your article. The Greens miraculously survived, but a neighbour, Mr Judd, died.

The word you used in the article – strafed – I have never heard of and it is not in my dictionary. What does it mean?

l Strafing: a term used to describe an attack on ground targets by low-flying aircraft, particular in the context of machine gun fire – Letters Editor.MORE LETTERS IN OUR ONLINE EDITION