Tag: Luftwaffe

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

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 07:47

Southampton Civilian Casualty Memorials

This memorial to Civilians killed during the bombing of the city of Southampton may be found in Hollybrook Cemetery. It is not a very imposing monument either, and if you did not know you would assume it is just a seating area.

It seems as if it was recently repainted, and in the repainting they really made the inscription illegible.

Inscription on the back wall of the monument

Inscription on the back wall of the monument

Inscription text reproduced

Inscription text reproduced

The monument has another inscription on it which advises that the rubble stonework was obtained from bomb damaged buildings in the city.

Many of the casualties from the bombing are buried at Hollybrook, and I heard a rumour that there was a mass grave in the cemetery for unidentified bodies, but was never able to confirm it.

I used to stay in East Street, next door to the Debenhams store which used to be Edwin Jones & Co., and there is an inscription on the building that states it is a replacement for the original building that was destroyed in the bombing.

Plaque outside Debenhams

Post 1959 Queens Building (now Debenhams)

Over the road from Debenhams, in Houndwell Park, there is another plinth with an inscription that very few people are aware of.

And finally, just outside the Bargate there is another memorial to those who died in the city during the bombing.

The bombing also damaged a lot of buildings, and one of the most obvious signs of the damage may be seen on the corner of  St Bernard (St Michael’s), and High Street where the ruins of the Holyrood Church stand.

Plaque at Holy Rood Church

Plaque at Holyrood Church

The ruins of Holy Rood Church

The ruins of Holyrood Church

Across the River Itchen in Woolston, the Supermarine factory used to be and it was targeted by the Luftwaffe, and large parts of the area were devastated too. A plaque commemorates the demise of the community known as “Itchen Ferry”.

Itchen Ferry Plaque

Itchen Ferry Plaque

Up in South Stoneham Cemetery near Southampton Airport is the a Roll of Honour commemorating the men and women killed in a bombing raid on 11 September 1940 at the Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft Ltd works nearby.  52 People were killed and 92 injured. 

Photographing war graves I often forget that amongst the many graves in some of these cemeteries there are many civilians who lost their lives in the cities due to the enemy bombing, and I find it sad that there is no real way to tell them apart from normal deaths.  Southampton is a city rich with history, and I often used to walk amongst the old buildings and wonder what it must have looked like before the bombers came. Sadly, the result of the bombers did not necessarily result in a better city, if anything development was stifled somewhat because so much had been destroyed, and the results were missing the unique touch of old Southampton. The city has a number of historical plaques pertaining to its past, and I have some of these on a page all about the plaques in Southampton.

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 13/03/2015

Updated: 22/04/2018 — 13:19
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