A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Events - Newport Air Raid -
- 7 April 1943 -

Event

Newport town centre was attacked by German aircraft on 7 April 1943. 17 Civilians lost their lives on the day, with 2 dying later. Also killed was an off-duty Airman with his wife who were visiting her father.

NameServiceDate of DeathAgeWhere buriedCWGC reference link
ABLITT, HAROLD FRANK07/04/194312Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
ABRAHAM, DONALD EDWINFire Guard Service20/04/194343Mount Joy CemeteryCWGC record... Biographical information
BURT, FREDERICK CECILFire Guard Service07/04/194351Mount Joy CemeteryCWGC record...
BUTLER, AMY07/04/194374Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
CARLTON, NELLIE07/04/194330CWGC record...
CARLTON, NORMAN DOUGLASCorporal, RAFVR07/04/194328Maidstone Cemetery, KentCWGC record...
DRAPER, ELIZABETH GRACEWVS07/04/194319Mount Joy CemeteryCWGC record...
DUDLEY, VALERIE LILIAN07/04/19435Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
DUDLEY, VIOLET LILYWVS07/04/194331Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
FLUX, JULIA MARY07/04/194390Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
MITCHELL, HAROLDFire Guard Service07/04/194360Mount Joy CemeteryCWGC record...
MUNDELL, CELIA ANN07/04/194366Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
MUNDELL, WILLIAM ROBERT07/04/194367Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
MURPHY, ELEANOR ADELAIDE07/04/194376Newport CemeteryCWGC record...
O'DONNELL, WILLIAM THOMAS07/04/194354CWGC record...
PALMER, EVA MARY07/04/194336Mount Joy CemeteryCWGC record...
SHEPARD, EDWARD HAROLD CECILFire Guard Service09/04/194342Mount Joy Cemetery 14/4/1943CWGC record...
STRATON, ARTHUR ARBUTHNOTM.D., F.R.C.S., Fire Guard Service07/04/194359CWGC record...
TREVETT, EDWARD JAMES07/04/194362Porchfield Congregational CemeteryCWGC record...
TULLEY, ERNEST HARRY07/04/194318Gatcombe St Olave's Churchyard
CWGC record...


Event details

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY PRESS

Saturday, April 10, 1943 Page 3

SOUTH COAST AIR RAIDS.

DAMAGE AND CASUALTIES IN MARKET TOWN.

An old borough and market town near the South Coast, which had fortunately hitherto escaped serious attention from enemy raiders, suffered badly in a low-level attack by a formation of eight fighter-bombers - M.E. 103's - soon after daybreak on Wednesday. The enemy planes came in from the sea skimmed the cliffs and opened up with their cannon as they approached the town, still flying very low. Swinging round in a half circle each dropped a bomb and then raced away for the coast. They were attacked by ground defences, both as they approached the town and as they left it, and at least one was hit. When over the Channel they were engaged by our fighters and one was shot down by a Typhoon. It is thought that at least two others were so badly damaged that they would not have reached the French coast.

The bombs were well scattered over the town, hence the damage both to business and private property was extensive, and unfortunately there were casualties, including a number killed. The attack did not last more than a minute. Fortunately at the early hour in the morning the workers had not arrived at some of the business premises which were either demolished or damaged, otherwise the casualty list would have been far greater. A bomb, which fell in a timber yard and killed three men, bounced at least 300 yards after first hitting the ground. It passed through the roof of the residence of Mrs. J.H. Flux, while she was in bed in the room immediately below, bringing down debris on her bed, but she escaped injury. It then struck the ground of the garden of a Baptist minister's house next door, ploughed up the soil for about three yards, passed through a concrete wall between the gardens, and ricocheted over two roads and several houses before exploding in the timber yard. The men killed here were Messrs. E. H. Tulley, F. C. Burt, and W. O'Donnell. Another bomb hit a garage, passed out through the open doors, and is believed to have travelled another 150 yards before it completely demolished and set fire to a large grocer's and provision merchant's shop and store. The N.F.S. soon had the fire under control. Most of the casualties occurred when terraces of houses in Clarence-road and Chapel-street were hit. In Clarence-road four houses were demolished and five occupants killed, including Mrs. Dudley, wife of a munition worker who had just left for his work, and her six-year-old daughter Valerie, and Mr. and Mrs. Mundell and their grandson Master H. Ablitt. Mr. Mundell's body was not recovered until the afternoon. Mr. D. Abraham was seriously injured here, but his wife and daughter were rescued from the ruins with minor injuries. In Chapel-street five house were wrecked and there were more fatal casualties, including two widowed sisters, Mrs. Flux and Mrs. Buckler [sic], living together, and a young airman, A. C. Carlton and his wife, who were spending a short holiday with Mrs. Carlton's father (Mr. Mitchell), who was so badly injured that he died in hospital. In one of the shattered houses here a man of 85 (Mr. H. Porter) was rescued almost uninjured. He had been saved by a piano, which took the weight of the falling debris. A bomb passed through the roof of a cinema in the High-street, badly damaging the building, and then exploded in a big draper's shop next door, completely demolishing it and an electric light company's offices, and badly damaging the Guildhall and the offices of a county newspaper. There were no casualties here, but several wonderful escapes. A party of firewatchers were just about to leave the cinema after having been on duty all night, but they escaped with slight injuries although the bomb passed through the building just above the room in which they were assembled. Mrs. Salter, who occupied a flat over the Electric Light Company's office, had a miraculous escape. She was in bed when the whole building collapsed, yet when the rescue party arrived they were amazed to see her crawling out from a heap of debris. She had escaped with cuts and bruises, not sufficiently serious to necessitate hospital treatment. After receiving attention at a first-aid station she was able to go to friends. Almost equally remarkable was the escape of Mrs. E. Blee, wife of the caretaker of the newspaper offices. She was in bed in a top floor room and jumped out when she heard the noise of the cannon fire, with the intention of going downstairs, but before she could do so a steel show-card printing machine, weighing about 1 cwt. crashed through the roof on to the bed with such force that it knocked a hole in the floor boards under the bed. Ald. and Mrs. Whitcher, whose residence is next door to the wrecked grocery store also had a lucky escape. The bedroom in which they had been sleeping until the previous night was badly damaged by blast. Fortunately they were using another room - a change made in the course of spring cleaning. Other premises badly damaged by bombs or blast included a mill, a pork butcher's shop and a garage, and among the many other buildings less seriously damaged were the Parish and St. John's Churches, where windows were blown out.

The most complete example of devastation was at a doctor's residence in the southern part of the town which received a direct hit. Hardly one brick of the large house remained on another, and unfortunately the doctor and a maid (Miss E. G. Draper) were killed. The doctor had been in practice in the town for some 25 years. His devotion to his noble calling, his outstanding skill, and unfailing kindliness and sympathy had won the affectionate esteem of a very large number of residents in the district who were his grateful patients. He had also done splendid work as one of the consulting staff of the County Hospital. His death is an irreparable loss to the community. His wife was rescued from the ruins with serious injuries. Their only son, an Army officer, has been missing from Dunkirk.

The damage to the Guildhall by blast and flying debris from the wrecked shops on the other side of the street was extensive. Practically every window was broken and the flying glass scarred the furniture and walls in the Court-room. Coping stones on the roof were dislodged, ceilings and plaster brought down, and the four faces of the clock in the tower smashed. Fortunately the valuable pictures in the Council-chamber escaped serious damage.

No words of praise can do adequate justice in commending the magnificent work of the Civil Defence Services and their military helpers who came so readily to their assistance, and of those responsible for the treatment of the injured and the comfort and feeding of the homeless and distressed. A special word of appreciation must be given to the W.V.S. and Church Army, whose vans and other means of providing tea and other refreshments for all in need, workers and sufferers alike were a bright gleam in a very sad picture. Once more these women voluntary workers showed a wonderful spirit of unselfishness, pluck, and unremitting concern for the unfortunate, and these qualities were also exhibited by the public generally, who were courageous and cheerful in a very trying ordeal. The Mayor, his colleagues on the Town Council, the Town Clerk, Borough Surveyor, other borough officials, police, and all with special duties to perform in such an emergency, carried them out with admirable coolness and splendid efficiency. Repair squads were at work making damaged houses habitable, and other parties of men were busy clearing the streets of broken glass and other debris, in a remarkably short time. In fact the whole of the preliminary arrangements for meeting such an emergency worked perfectly and well in spite of the fact that in some instances alternative centres of operation had to be found. Mr. Humphries, of Ryde, the driver of a train approaching the town, showed admirable good sense and presence of mind. Seeing the enemy machines heading towards the town, he pulled up his train in a tunnel until the danger had passed.
On their way back, near a village on the coast, the raiders fired cannon shells at a herd of cows. Five were hit and two were so badly injured that they had to be destroyed.


Note that due to censorship, the Press were unable to name Newport in the report, although it would have been clear to readers where the raid took place. Curiously, Ryde is mentioned as the train driver's place of residence. The Doctor killed was Arthur Arbuthnot Straton. He served in WW I with the Royal Army Medical Corps [See London Gazette (Commissioned as temp. Lieutenant, 5 Aug 1914)]. His son, Robert Alexander Straton, died 30 May 1940 at Dunkirk and he is commemorated on the Newport War Memorial as R Straten.


ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY PRESS

Saturday, April 17, 1943 Page 7

NEWPORT
Funeral of Widowed Sisters. - The funeral of Mrs. Julia M. Flux and Mrs. A. Butler, widowed sisters who died at their home in Chapel-street last week, was on Tuesday, a service in the Congregational Church and the interment in Newport Cemetery being conducted by the Rev. T.E.R. Langbridge. The chief mourners for Mrs. Flux were Mr. and Mrs. G. Jolliffe (daughter and son-in-law), Mrs. A. Saunders and Miss J. Jolliffe (grand-daughters), Lieut. V. Porter, R.C.O.C., and Pte. S.R. Jolliffe, R.E.M.E. (grandsons), and Mrs. H. Evelegh and Mrs. Perrett, of Bristol (nieces). Those for Mrs. Butler were Corpl. S. Butler, R.A.F., and Pte. C. Butler, C.M.P. (sons), and Mesdames S. and C. Butler (daughters-in-law). The Mayor and Mayoress and other friends were in the church. - The relatives wish to thank all kind friends for sympathy and floral tributes. Will all concerned please accept this acknowledgment.


ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY PRESS

Saturday, April 17, 1943 Page 7

NEWPORT
Mother and Little Daughter Buried Together. - Mrs. Dudley, wife of Mr. R.F. Dudley, of Clarence-road, and her little daughter Valerie, aged 6, were buried together on Sunday at Newport Cemetery, following a service in the Victoria Methodist Sunday-school. The Rev. H.M. Jackson officiated and the hymns "Peace, perfect peace" and "There's a Friend for little children" were sung. The chief mourners were the bereaved husband and father, Mr. and Mrs. H. Aston (sic) (Mrs. Dudley's parents), Messrs. C., A., and A.A. Ashton (brothers), Mesdames Beal and Shrimpton and Miss G. Ashton (sisters), Mr. J. Smith (cousin), Mrs. F.W. Dudley (mother-in-law), and Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Dudley, Mrs. K. Dudley, Mr. G. Dudley, and Miss D. Dudley (brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law). The Mayor and Mayoress (Ald. and Mrs. W. Blake), Mrs. H. Ewbank (W.V.S.), and Mrs. Denness (W.V.S. girls' canteen) were among others present, and the numerous wreaths included those from Mrs. Dudley's fellow workers at the W.V.S. canteen and the A.T.S. girls using it; the A.R.P. wardens of the district; Westmont and Braunstone House School; and the scholars in Valerie's Sunday-school class. Mr. W.W. Wells made the arrangements. - Mr. R. Dudley, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Dudley, senior, express their most grateful thanks to all friends for their timely assistance, letters of sympathy, and beautiful flowers.


Acknowledgments :

Thanks to Janet Griffin for newspaper and other research


 
 

 
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