Newbury Weekly News

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Newbury Weekly News

75th ANNIVERSAR Y OF THE DAY BOMBS FELL ON NEWB URY

Chairman of West Berkshire Council Quentin Webb and the mayor of Newbur y DavidFennatthememorialservice Ref: 07-1118 I

High Sheriff of Berkshire Sarah Scrope, with the mayor and mayoress of Newbury, DavidandMarionFenn Ref: 07-1118B

Moving tributes to those who lost lives in bombing Civic dignitaries and sur vivors attend ser vice to mark the day 15 were killed in air raid

The memorial to those killed in the Newbur y bombing

THE 15 people who lost their lives in the bombing raid on Newbury were: Sylvia Bishop ..................................................... aged 13 James Brown.......................................................aged 36 Joyce Petrony..................................................... aged 14 Herbert ‘Bimbo’ Purdy........................................aged 12 Mildred Reid........................................................aged 46 Daniel Benham....................................................aged 84 Mathilda Benham................................................aged 78 Amos Cooper.......................................................aged 82 Mary Cooper........................................................aged 84 Clara Singlehurst................................................aged 83 Herbert Singlehurst............................................aged 76 Jane Symes........................................................ aged 68 Amy Spender.......................................................aged 54 Kathleen Spender...............................................aged 50 Ethel Walin..........................................................aged 49 We will remember them

across Newbury, eight 50-kilogram bombs were dropped north of the railway line causing much struc- tural damage and many people were shot at by machine gun fire. “Amazingly, only two people were wounded and both survived. “These were just some of the many eyewitness accounts of what was just a few minutes in the long social history of Newbury. “I am grateful these people, now in their 80s, were willing to share their memories tohelp us all have a little understanding of the day the reality of war came to our town 75 years ago.” Prior to the ceremony, Rev Davi- son recalled the day the church was destroyed. She said: “As a relative newcomer to Newbury in autumn 2015, it was striking to me how many people stillremembered the day vividly. “Recalling that day still brought tears to eyes. “Accounts have a particular poignancy as they are the memo- ries of children. “I think St John ’s is the only church in the Oxford Diocese to have been destroyed in the 1939-45 war. “What is astonishing is how quickly and extensively it was rebuilt – by local builders, appren- tices and skilled tradespeople; also of locally-made bricks. “It is very moving to meet those involved who talk of the experi- ences they remember and the things they learnt from thosewho they worked alongside. “It is a testimony not only to their expertise, but also to the resilience and commitment of the community at the time.”

AT4.35pm onFebruary10,1943, a Dornier 217-E flewacrossthetownand inamatter ofminutes15people lost their lives, 25people wereseriously injured andmore than265buildings weredamaged.This included the destruction ofStJohn’sChurch,the Senior Council Sc hool,St Bar tholomew’sAlmshouses and Southampton Terrace. DANCOOPER reportsonamemorial serviceheldonSundaytocommemo- rate those killed intheraid,while on page9aretherecollections ofresi- dentswhowitnessed thebombing.

MORE than 200 people packed into St John ’s Church on Sunday to remember thosewho lost their lives when Newbury was bombed duringthe Second World War. Many of the congregation who attended the commemorative service were there that fateful day on February 10, 1943, and some of their incredible and moving memories were read out by the vicar of St John ’s, Deborah Davi- son, and Newbury’s deputy mayor, Margo Payne. Prayers were read out and hymns were sung before 15 candles were lit – one for each person killed. As the service drew to a close, there was a procession over to the memorial opposite the church, where flowers were laid by civic leaders and others. Newbury mayor David Fenn and mayoress Marion Fenn both attended the event, alongside other dignitaries, including the High Sheriff of Berkshire Sarah Scrope and chairman of West Berkshire Council Quentin Webb. After the flowers were laid,

St John’s Church was left in ruins after being hit by a bomb

many people made their way over to the Fair Close Centre for tea, coffee and cake. During the ceremony, Mrs Payne said: “The plane approached from the south west and at zero height opened fire with machine guns. “At first children waved at the plane until they realised they were being strafed and dived for cover. “The first large bomb dropped, destroying part of Southampton Terrace. Three people lost their lives here. “The second bomb destroyed the church of St John the Evange- list, but luckily no one here was killed and Mildred Sandford was pulled to safety from the rubble of the vestry. “The third bomb exploded in the middle of St Bartholomew’s Alms

houses and seven people lost their lives. “Sheila Buttwas 11, shelived in Trafalgar Place and, with her younger brother, was just finish- ing the tea left by her mother, who was out on war work at a local factory. “She went to the door to shake out the tablecloth and, hearing the noise, looked up and saw a German plane, swastikas on the wings, flying very low, firing bullets on to the roof of their house. “She grabbed her brother and they hid under the kitchen table, the milk jug being broken in the rush for safety– both survived. “The fourth and final 500-kilo- gram bomb destroyed the north end of the senior council school. “As the bomber continued

The mayor of Newbur y David Fenn pays his respects at the memorial to those killedofFebruary 10,1943 Ref: 07-1118N

Newbury’s deputy mayor Margo Payne read out first-person accounts of the raid

Ref: 07-1118E Fifteencandleswerelittocommemoratehosekilledintheraid Ref: 07-1118H

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