Plaque to remember those who died in Leamington bombing raids unveiled in town

Alan Griffin (left), Barry Franklin (centre right), Richard King (second from right) and Allan Jennings (right) of the Leamington History Group are pictured handing over ownership of the civilian memorial plaque to Leamington Town Council represented by Leamington Mayor's consort John Evetts. Picture by Allan Jennings.
Alan Griffin (left), Barry Franklin (centre right), Richard King (second from right) and Allan Jennings (right) of the Leamington History Group are pictured handing over ownership of the civilian memorial plaque to Leamington Town Council represented by Leamington Mayor's consort John Evetts. Picture by Allan Jennings.

Civilians and soldiers who died as a result of air raids on Leamington during the Second World War have been remembered in the run up to Remembrance Day.

A plaque with the names of the 13 people who were killed during the raids has been installed at the base of the town’s War Memorial in Euston Place and was unveiled by members of the Leamington History Group Allan Jennings and Barry Franklin and handed over to be maintained by Leamington Town Council on Monday.

A crowd including Leamington History Group members gathered for the unveiling of the memorial for the 13 civilians who died as a result of bombing raids on Leamingto during the Second World War. Photo by Allan Jennings.

A crowd including Leamington History Group members gathered for the unveiling of the memorial for the 13 civilians who died as a result of bombing raids on Leamingto during the Second World War. Photo by Allan Jennings.

In his speech at the unveiling Mr Jennings, who has published a book called The Bombings of Leamington Spa, said: “Most Leamingtonians are not aware of the bombing raids on Leamington during the Second World War.

“Ask them if we were bombed and they will often tell you that Queen Victoria’s statue was moved because of a bomb.

“Many will tell you that Lipton’s grocery shop on the Parade was demolished and that people were sheltering in the doorway and died.

“But who was sheltering in the doorway?

The memorial  plaque for the civilians and soldiers who died duringair raids on Leamington in the Second World War. Allan Jennings.

The memorial plaque for the civilians and soldiers who died duringair raids on Leamington in the Second World War. Allan Jennings.

“Over the years it has been said that various people died while standing and sheltering in the doorway at 160 the Parade - two soldiers, a soldier and a girl, a courting couple, two wardens, etcetera“

“Not one of the reports gave any names.

“Local historian Alan Griffin and I started looking into it and discovered the evidence to show that it was two soldiers.

“Leamington and Lillington endured six main bombing raids during the Second World War.

“Thirteen people died - but for 77 years since the first death due to enemy bombs there has been no specific memorial.

“And so, after 77 years since the first death from enemy bombs, Leamington now has a memorial to the 13 people who died as a result of the raids. “

Mr Jennings paid tribute to Mr Franklin and the rest of the history group for organising the fundraising for the memorial and thanked the many subscribers who made donations.

He also thanked group member Richard King for designing it.

The memorial was made by Swinson’s Masonry and installed on Wednesday October 11 by Adam Anders and Paul Swinson.

Mr Franklin said: “We did not know the names of the victims until Alan did his research for the book and we thought ‘why aren’t these people commemorated anywhere?’”

“We commemorate soldiers but there is no recognition of the civilians who died while contributing to the war effort.

“So I got the bit between my teeth and it went from there.”

Hilda Wormell, Edward Antrobus, George Antrobus, Fredrick Bray, Annie Freeman, Stafford Hammond, soldiers Sjt Thomas Landles and Sjt William Welch Charles, Walter Williams, Robert Baskott, Reginald Kitchener, Fredrick Pike and Ronald Smith died in the raids and are named on the plaque.