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Whitstable at War - World WarII

Bomb Strikes: Conventional Bombs

    

The more conventional bomb strikes on Whitstable may have come from planes offloading any remaining explosives after a raid on London or the Medway Towns. Evidence of this is supplied by Mollie Fallon in the quote below....

 

My father, Charles Miles, and I watched the bombs fall out of low-flying German bombers coming back from London (daylight).  These bombs, I believe, may be the ones which fell on the Boating Lake.

Mollie Fallon (nee Miles)
London - Formerly Whitstable

   

Such strikes may also have been made by damaged aircraft or those suffering mechanical problems. The aim here might be too lighten the load and make some use of their explosives while attempting to return to the safety of mainland Europe.  

On the other hand, some attacks on East Kent towns may have been the work of iindividual dive bombers that had been given license to roam the Kent countryside for possible random targets.   

Whatever, the thought processes involved, the attacks caused significant damage in various parts of Whitstable.... 

 

At the Boating Lake....

  

Mercifully, there were occasions when the strikes  were inconvenient but inconsequential....  

  

Did you know that a bomb fell in the Boating Lake during the war? It fell right at the corner between the island and the road, where the Golf Link footpath begins. 

 

Above: That corner of the boating lake pictured post war The area is now a housing development
(Picture with thanks to Tim Holman. Tim Holman)

 

Strangely, it did not make a crater, but heaved the ground up and blocking the channel. 

John Harman
Canada

  

At the Horsebridge/Terrys Lane....

  

Other hits were more substantial....

         

You mentioned the Horsebridge bus depot being hit. I can still picture the house-cum- ticket office  collapsing in a cloud of dust but have no sensation of any sound.

Brian Smith
Australia

      

The bomb landed on properties at junction of Horsebridge Road and Terry's Lane. The ticket office and houses were destroyed but the bus garage and Assembly Rooms survived despite significant damage. 

A small oblong ticket office was erected on the bomb site at the corner of the two roads after the war and this served customers throughout the 1950s. However, the northern side of Terry's Lane remained a rather ramshackle site for 55 years until the whole area was redeveloped in the year 2000.... 

 

Above: The road junction in the year 2000 - prior to the general  redevelopment of the Horsebridge area. The Assembly rooms are clearly evident... as is the arched roof of the old bus garage. By then, the latter was being used as an art gallery.  
Below: As it is today...

 

High Street...

 

To date, we have learned of just one bomb in the main shopping streets. The device fell at the rear of a retail outlet at No. 5 High Street - not far from the Terry's Lane incident.

  

Regent Street...

 

In many ways, Regent Street was at the centre of much of the bombing. Mercifully, there was only one direct hit on the street. This is mentioned by Ian Johnson.... 

 

A bomb fell on a section of terrace in Regent Street - between the junctions with St Peters Street and Gladstone Road (nearer the St Peters Street end and on the side of the street away from the High Street). 

 

 Above: Regent Street Today

 

Ian Johnson
Yorkshire

   

Warwick Road & Acton Roads

 

Two side roads leading from Regent Street suffered blasts. A bomb hit Nos 3 and 5 Warwick Road.... 

 

 Warwick Road

  

... and another destroyed properties in Acton Road.

  

Above: Acton Road  

 

Diamond Road...

   

A short distance away, a bomb damaged properties in Diamond Road close to the junction with Reservoir Road....

 

  

Clare Road...

  

The haphazard nature of the bombing meant that strikes hit some residential areas a considerable distance from the town centre and there were stories of both tragedy and incredible good fortune .....

 

You can add 85 Clare Road to your list of bombings - my grandparents were in it when the bomb hit and flattened it. 

  

Above: Clare Road

  

Sadly, I can't find the photo that appeared in the Whitstable Times.

Jackie Evans
Digswell
Herts

 

Bearing in mind the densely populated nature of many of the roads, it is quite remarkable that casualties were not considerably greater.

 

Ham Shades Lane...

 

Bombs also hit the less populated outskirts of town. Two such explosions rocked the then "country surroundings" of Ham Shades Lane. The first was at Bartlett's corner where the bomb fell in what is now the entrance to Bridewell Park...

 

Bartletts Corner today... with the entrance to Bridewell Park visible alongside the large tree on the right.

   

The second dropped further east as Bill Dancer explains....

 

"As an addition to the bomb incident at Bartletts Corner.... Jack Billmeirs home further along Ham Shades Lane towards Pier Avenue and on the same side of the road got a direct hit and was eventually rebuilt after the war and lived in by Jack's brother Eric"

Bill Dancer
Victoria
British Columbia
Canada.

   

As air raids became a part of normal life, some war-weary people became less concerned with a dash to the shelters and stayed in their homes. A favourite practice was to pop into the "cupboard under the stairs". I once asked my old dad about the wisdom of that practice. His answer was simple.... "If a bomb-hit house was left with anything standing, it was usually the staircase!"

   


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