On 10 February 1943, Reading was bombed by the Luftwaffe in an incident involving a single aircraft. Four 500kg bombs were dropped killing 41 people and injuring 150. I visited the town twice to do gravehunting although I did not fully explore it, concentrating more on the old cemetery. Up till today I had not really known the details behind the bombing and the plaque that was affixed to the side of a building next to St Laurence Church.
Only 37 of those killed were ever identified and the youngest casualty was a boy of 10 years old. Amongst the survivors was Michael Bond, the author of the Paddington Bear books.
The bombs fell in a line from the north bank of the River Kennet to just outside Reading Town Hall, with the first landed on Simmonds Brewery, the second bomb penetrated the offices of the Reading Labour Party in Minster Street and exploding in Welsteeds Department store across the road. The third bomb landed on a Victorian arcade linking Broad Street and Friar Street and exploded outside the People’s Pantry in Friar Street and the fourth landed on top of the People’s Pantry and detonated outside the town hall, bringing down the front of Blandy and Blandy Solicitors and damaging St Laurence Church.
The plaque in the image above is affixed to the wall of the building where Blandy and Blandy Solicitors are, and that is next to St Laurence Church. I am sure that some of the victims of that incident are buried in the old Cemetery in the town.
The Cenotaph in Reading is behind the churchyard of St Laurence at the entrance to Forbury Park
DRW © 2020. Created 10/02/2020. Most of the text and information comes from an article published on the getreading pages of 10/02/2020