Bombs over Herts
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
Local newspapers were not allowed to publish details of bombings in case the information was relayed back to Germany. They could only report that there had been a raid on a Hertfordshire town or village, the home counties or South Eastern England.
You can search the archive catalogue (1100 – 2017) with reference Off Acc 364 to see where bombs were dropped in Hertfordshire throughout the War
Local newspaper reports
HALS (various newspapers)
LONDON COLNEY: A GOAT NAMED HITLER AND A LUCKY BABY - One householder, Mrs Lovatt lost three goats in the attack, the fourth, named ‘Hitler’ (‘because of it’s fractious ways’) escaped uninjured. Another resident, Mrs Bennett showed the reporter a piece of bomb that had gone through a window and missed the head of her baby in its cot, then hit the wall and fell to the floor. The reporter went on to say all the dogs which had run off returned for breakfast and that the birds in cages from one damaged house were singing merrily when daylight came.
Cutting from the Herts Advertiser, Sep 1940 (ref HALS SBR 4629)
WARE - On 18 September at 9.15pm, six people were killed in one house by a high explosive bomb dropped by a lone raider over Ware. The demolished house, 63 New Road, was rented by a company from North London who had moved to the town to escape the bombing. Normally, ten people were resident, but four had gone to the cinema, however there were also two visitors. The site is now the entrance to Tesco’s car park and called Dickenson Way.
HALS (ref Hertfordshire Mercury)
HERTFORD - Five days later, Hertford suffered fatalities when a parachute mine hit Tamworth Road. Eleven people were killed; six at the scene and the others died in hospital. Many more were seriously injured. It demolished houses and left a crater 50 feet wide. One of the victims was 60 year old Alfred Wright who had been disabled during the First World War. He lived at number 24 and left a widow and eight children.
HALS (ref Hertfordshire Mercury 27 Sep 1940)
WELWYN GARDEN CITY - On 2 October three adults and a baby were killed when a high explosive bomb directly hit houses in Mandeville Road and Pentley Park. Two children were injured and a number of residents in the area had incredible escapes. Norman and Hannah Martin and their adopted son Derek, aged five, who were sleeping in a downstairs room at 20 Mandeville Rise when the wall of the room was blown away. They were able to crawl through the debris and outside to safety. Sadly, their seven month old baby, David, who was sleeping under the stairs, was killed. Debris was thrown for a considerable distance, and tiles and windows of other houses in the vicinity were broken and shattered.
Houses in Mandeville Rise, 1937 (HALS ref Local Studies Library collection)
Ronald and Emily Gordon were sleeping in a bedroom upstairs at 18 Mandeville Rise. Both were killed. Their daughter, Diana, and an evacuee, Patricia Ferris, who were sleeping in a front bedroom are believed to have been blown out of the house into the road. Both were injured and taken to hospital.
Mandeville Rise, 1937 (HALS Local Studies Library collection)
Mrs Elsie Fulton, 52, who was sleeping in a bedroom a short distance away at 25 Pentley Park, was killed by falling debris which pierced the roof. Another resident, who lives at the rear of the house which was demolished, told how his little boy, Anthony, aged three, had an extraordinary escape when a hole was blown in the roof near where he was sleeping. Anthony’s only comment when his parents went to him was, ‘where’s my orange?.’ According to the Welwyn and Hatfield Times the ARP demolition, rescue and repair squads worked with great speed and efficiency. Residents paid many tributes to their prompt action.
HALS (ref Local Studies Library Collection)
BISHOP'S STORTFORD - On the night of 10 October, three bombs were dropped near Hockerill Training College in Bishop’s Stortford. One directly hit Menet House, accommodation within the college grounds used by students and staff. Three students were killed instantly and rescue teams worked throughout the night to free seven others and a lecturer trapped in the rubble. The town was never a defined target, but any visible routes of communication like railway lines would have been hit if possible. It was the worst attack suffered by Bishop’s Stortford during the entire war.
Menet House, c1920s (HALS ref DE/X/840)
The ruins of Menet House. The students who lost their lives were Evelyn Joyce Carnell, aged 18, of Canterbury, Kent; Evelyn Joan Drake, aged 19, of Romford, Essex and Edith Grace Zender, aged 18, of Hockley Heath, Warwickshire.
Damage to nearby St Albans House. Hockerill Training College was established in 1852 by the Church of England for the training of women teachers. It closed in 1978 and is now an independent boarding school.
This page was added on 09/07/2020.