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Bombs over Sleaford (WW2)

John Dale has been looking through the Sleaford Gazette to see if he could match any raids mentioned in the papers to evacuations to our school air raid shelter, mentioned in our log book.

 

Sleaford Gazette Nov 3rd, 1944

 

WHEN THE GERMAN BOMBS FELL

Looking back over Sleaford’s history during the worst of the bombing period of the war it is remarkable how the town has escaped without damage. Not one house in Sleaford has been wrecked, not a bomb has fallen on the town.

There have been 385 air raid warnings in Sleaford and East Kesteven District and there have been 74 incidents in the Rural District in which many high explosive bombs have been dropped.

 

Casualties have been very light and between June 6th, 1940 and August 3rd, 1943 they numbered only five killed and one seriously injured. There were also 15 slightly injured. The first bombs to drop in the county were at Byard`s Leap on June 6th, 1940.

 

Five Killed at Chapel Hill.

It was on Sunday, March 9th, 1941, that high explosives were dropped at Chapel Hill, demolishing the house attached to the pumping station and also causing damage to the pumping station itself. Damage was caused to the drain. The death toll in this incident was the highest of any in the experience of the district. Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Richardson, who were the occupiers of the house, were killed, and their two sons and daughter also perished in this raid. This tragedy accounted for all the dead from air raids reported in this district.

At ten minutes past four o'clock on Monday, the 3rd August 1942 (August Bank Holiday) H.E. bombs fell at Helpringham, which demolished the Sun Inn and three other houses, at the same time causing a considerable amount of damage to 39 other houses. There was also slight damage to the Parish Church and the Methodist Chapel. A Garden Party was in progress at the time and fortunately only one person was seriously injured, and 44 others slightly injured.

The only other civilian casualty in the district was a special constable who suffered cuts on the face when H.E. bombs were dropped at Temple Bruer on the 14thSeptember 1940.

 

Help in Other Districts

Although the district has been particularly fortunate in as far as casualties are concerned, the Civil Defence Service have on numerous occasions been sent under mutual aid arrangements to other parts of the County which have been less fortunate. Their work on these occasions has been highly praised and reflects not only their training but the zeal and enthusiasm displayed by the personnel concerned.

The nearest incident to Sleaford were the one high explosive bomb which dropped at Holdingham on the 30th August 1940, and the incendiary bombs which dropped at Quarrington on the 15th March 1941.

Anwick appears to have drawn the attention of the Germans more than other villages around Sleaford. On no fewer than seven occasions they were bombed, the first visit being on June 6th, 1940. Scopwick was bombed on six separate occasions between June 1940 and August 1942.

A number of villages were bombed on four occasions. They were Billinghay, Martin, Ruskington, Blankney, Temple Bruer, Digby, and the villages which received attention from the Luftwaffe on three occasions were Heckington and Wilsford.

Bombs are recorded to have fallen twice at North Kyme, Timberland, Helpringham, Rowston, Dorrington, Ashby-de-la-Launde. Walcott, Little Hale and Aswarby.

The Germans confined themselves to dropping bombs only once at Byards Leap, Great Hale, Threekingham, Holdingham, South Kyme, Swarby, Willoughby, Quarrington, Ewerby, Ewerby Thorpe, North and South Rauceby.

When Sleaford people realise how close they have been to the focal point of many raids they can be thankful that the Luftwaffe, in the earlier years of the war, were nothing like so accurate in their attacks as the R.A.F. are today. The nights of fear and trembling, with dreary hours in air raid shelters, are over, we hope, but most people are rather glad in a way that they have had the experience of air raids. Their sympathy can go out more easily to those in other parts of the country who have had some of the worst bombing of the war.

 

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