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Monday, 1 October 2012

Bombing and civilian deaths in World War Two.

Many Boston folk were killed in action either in the Army, Navy or the R.A.F. This small article deals only with the civilian deaths of Boston during World War Two,  if there are any I have not mentioned and you can tell me about them I will update it immediately.

Most of Boston's bombings in World War Two occured between August 1940 and June 1942. On nine nights during this period bombs actually fell in the town but there were a few false alarms where people had to sit up, in their air raid shelters or under the stairs, sometimes for hours, because the siren had gone off. On the days after any bombs had fallen the boys of the town turned up to look for fragments of the bombs or the fins of the incendiary bombs. There was rarely more than one enemy bomber involved in each raid and often the bombs were delayed action or duds and the bomb disposal squads had to be called in. One such bomb, outside Cammack's shop in Wide Bargate, took several days to get out and two more, in open fields, are still there to this day.

 
The unexploded bomb outside Cammack's shop in Wide Bargate.
 
On the night of 12th. June 1941, a single heavy bomb burst behind West Street, near James Street. The Royal George pub, several houses and Lovely's Commercial Hotel were destroyed and when the ruins were cleared the next day it was found that there was a tragic death toll. Mr. John Faulkner, an old man in his seventies, Mrs. Nancy Harris and her three little children and two well known teenage girls, Kathleen and Audrey Loveley had all been killed. In all nine people died in what was Boston's worst air-raid incident of the war.
There was a lull of more than a year without any serious air-raids on Boston, but the town had two more serious raids to come, one in July and one in August of 1942.

Above : A Dornier 217, one of which flew across Boston in July 1942,  machine-gunning and dropping four bombs on the town.
 
The first of these was in broad daylight when a Dornier 217 dived out of thick cloud, flew across the town machine-gunning as it went, and then dropped four bombs aimed at the railway goods yard in High Street. Three of the bombs hit the railway yard and caused some damage but one bomb fell short and burst near houses in the Liquorpond Street - High Street - Bedford Place area. One old lady, Mrs. Harriet Gee was killed, several people were injured, and over 100 were bombed out of their homes.
One month later on a Saturday evening, a German bomber dropped a line of white flares near the dock and a few minutes later four bombs exploded between Main Ridge, Silver Street and Threadneedle Street. Many of the surrounding houses were destroyed and four people were killed, five injured and 150 bombed out. Among the dead were an 18 year old young man William Taylor, and his girlfriend, 15 year old Gertrude Creasey. He and his young lady were the last civilians to be buried in the war plot in Boston Cemetery. May they all rest in peace.
Fifty seven high explosive bombs, and also four oil bombs, fell between the town's boundaries, and around 500 incendiaries were also dropped. Sixty four homes were either destroyed or so badly damaged that they had to be demolished.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Billy . I often talk about the night the bomb fell in west st , Not from being there but what my mum and grandad had told me . Grandad was on fire watch , standing at the side of the George when the bomb dropped . He was thrown accross west st through a locked door and landed on a flight of stair's . He said all he could here was a lady stood at the top of the stair's screeming , He had not a mark on him . I think the door was part of what became Don whites , this row of buildings still has evidence to this day of that night . I have been told that the floors are tilted as the whole row has been pushed back at the top floor . I think there was a family by the name of Brown who also died as a gas main had broken and they could not escape the house as the windows had been nailed up and the door was blocked by the brick debris from the blast . My mum has told me that she lived at 48 James st and the whole house was covered with soot that had fallen from the chimney , The bodies were laid out in the great northern yard as they uncovered them the next day

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    1. I will update this on the blog as soon as I get the time, thanks for the extra info.

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    2. George Creasey, the brother of Emma Gertrude, died on 4.2.1943 at HMS Assegai , a shore station near Durban in South Africa. He served as a Leading Stoker in the Royal Navy and is remembered on East Heackington war memorial.

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  2. I was being christened at ST. thomas church during the daylight attack . Strange to think only 12 years later i went on a school holiday to Germany. No more comment .

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  3. My dad Frank Appleby was on leave from the railway division of the Royal Engineers when the bomb (known as a landmine i.e. a large high explosive one) was dropped on Main Ridge. His parents' house was on the corner of Pen Street and Rasen's Court, since demolished to allow Main Ridge West to curve round into Pen Street.
    He was not best pleased, having been bombed to er, beggary (change 2 vowels) on Hull Paragon Station, to be just enjoying a huge cheese and beetroot sandwich and find himself cartwheeling through the air in slow motion due to the impact of the HE literally yards away. Utter chaos from the beetroot juice must have ensued, as some of it entered the kitchen clock, which was still stopped at the time of impact into the 1970s!
    Promise this somewhat ludicrous "war story" is absolutely true.

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