East Cowes Civilian Bombing Casualty Memorial

I found this memorial in Kingston cemetery, in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. It commemorates the civilians who were buried in the cemetery who were killed in the bombing of Cowes.

When I was visiting Cowes, I went through to  Kingston and Northwood Cemeteries, and there is still bomb damage visible in Northwood Cemetery.

The most memorable incident happened on the night of May 4–5, 1942, when the Polish destroyer, ORP Błyskawica was instrumental in defending Cowes from an air raid by 160 German bombers. The ship was undergoing an emergency refit at the J. Samuel White yard where she was built, and on the night of the raid, fired at the German bombers from outside the harbour, her guns becoming so hot they had to be cooled down with water. The gunnery from the ship forced the bombers to stay high, making it hard for them to target properly, and the ship laid a smokescreen hiding Cowes from the high flying bombers. However, the town and shipyard were badly damaged, and it is generally thought that without the destroyer it would have been far worse, although there are those say that the destroyer may have been the reason that the Germans targeted the shipyards.

There are other bombing casualties buried in this cemetery, and it is often forgotten that Cowes, like Portsmouth and Southampton were targeted by the Luftwaffe during the Second Wold War. 63 People were killed in air raids on East Cowes, and 56 are listed on this particular memorial.

On the opposite bank of the Medina River is Northwood Cemetery, and a similiar memorial exists there.

© DRW 2013-2018. Created 23/03/2015, added Northwood image 22/11/2017

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