During the 1939-1945 war, Leamington experienced a number of air raids which caused the death of 13 people and severe injuries to 39 others. This information was not made public at the time, for fear of damaging morale, but it came to light when the Local Medical Officer of Health published a report after the war. Compared with Coventry, Leamington had escaped very lightly, with the result that although they were known about by many townspeople, the air raids and resulting casualties received little publicity and are now almost forgotten.
However, following extensive research by Leamington History Group members Alan Griffin, Richard King and Allan Jennings, we now know a great deal more. For example, on the night of 14th November 1940, the night of the First Coventry Blitz, bombs/land mines were dropped right across the centre of the town, from York Road to Kinross Road, Lillington, killing seven people.
Using contemporary newspaper reports, survivors’ personal recollections and ARP documentation, Allan Jennings put together an impressive presentation on the subject, attracting capacity audiences wherever he gave it. His findings will be published in a book, “The Bombing of Royal Leamington Spa” this coming September.
A significant result of Allan’s painstaking research was the discovery that Leamington has no memorial to the 13 air raid casualties. Leamington History Group is therefore proposing to erect a plaque, to record the names of the 13, close to the War Memorial in Euston Place. Designed by Richard King, and costing approximately £1100, the plaque will be mounted on a block of Cornish grey granite and set at an angle so as to be easily read by all. Following my presentation using a full-size model and photographs of it in situ, to the Town Council, discussions with the British Legion in Leamington and a final presentation to the Council’s Cultural and Community Committee, the project has received approval. We have secured the support of a local stonemason, so all that remains now is to raise the funds. To make a donation, email me, Barry Franklin, on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07778193103.
The names to be inscribed on the plaque are:
Hilda Wormell (Injured 19th October 1940 as a result of a bomb which fell in All Saints Churchyard – died 7th December 1940)
Edward Antrobus and George Antrobus (15 York Road , 14th November 1940)
Frederick Bray (5/7 Dormer Place, 14th November 1940)
Annie Freeman (117 Kinross Road 14th November 1940)
Stafford Hammond (5/7 Dormer Place, 14th November 1940)
Thomas Landles (Serjeant Army Pioneer Corps – Liptons, The Parade, (now A Plan Insurance) 14th November 1940)
Charles William Welch (Serjeant Army Pioneer Corps –Liptons The Parade, (now A Plan Insurance) 14th November 1940)
The following were victims of two raids on the Lockheed factory in June and July 1942:
Walter Williams (Injured 13th June 1942 – died 14th June 1942)
Robert Baskott (16th July 1942)
Reginald Kitchener (16th July 1942)
Frederick Pike (16th July 1942)
Ronald Smith ( 16th July 1942)