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Author Topic: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940  (Read 50464 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2016, 16:47:34 »
The Narrow Margin (Wood & Dempster) states that at about 10am on 11th October 1940 about 100 Me109s assembled at Cap Gris Nez and crossed the coast at Hastings at up to 33000 feet. They attacked Folkestone, Deal, Canterbury and Ashford.

The same book states that the fighter-bomber (Jabo) versions of the Me109 could carry 4 x 50kg (110lb) bombs or 1 x 250kg (550lb) bomb.

The Battle of Britain (Hough & Richards) states that during October 1940 the Jabos carried a single 550lb bomb, normally released in straight and level flight on a “hit or miss” basis from 25000 to 33000 feet.

As well as the casualties at Canterbury, Front Line County lists fatalities at Faversham and Folkestone (1 fatal + injuries at each, although not necessarily in that same raid – there was a total of four similar raids over Kent on that day).

According to The Narrow Margin the weather was “Mainly fair apart from showers chiefly in coastal areas….”.

Front Line County also states:
Cows in a field where one bomb fell were lifted into the air by the blast; they landed on their feet and carried on grazing. (Presumably someone watched that happen, or interviewed the cows!!!). But at least it accounts for the 3rd bomb.

What can we glean from all that?
1.   33000 feet is over 6 miles and the slant distance from where the bombs were released to where they landed would be about 7 miles. A mile wide target at that distance would appear as 100mm (4 inches) held at arms length – hardly conducive to accurate aiming without a bomb sight.

2.   But whatever its size, the Jabo pilot was completely blind in the direction of his target – forwards and downwards. Thus for The Narrow Margin to say they attacked a named town seems unduly generous – the best that the pilot could do was to fly towards where he thought the town was and release his bomb(s) when he thought he was the right distance from it, as implied by The Battle of Britain.

3.   Were the bombs 3 x 50kg from the same aircraft? (In which case what happened to the 4th bomb?). Or were they 3 x 250kg bombs from 3 separate aircraft? (In which case 2 of them landing so close together in the Burgate/cathedral area was a remarkable coincidence).

The alignment of the cathedral towers at the start of the video generates a line passing over Burgate where there is now a length of new building with a colonnaded section at each end - visible on GSV – which is the probable location of the six destroyed shops. The ‘Burgate Art Gallery’ seems to have been where Curry’s Digital is now, on the opposite side of the street.
t.
The bomb that damaged the cathedral, if of 250kg, probably landed between South Close and The Precinct (Google Maps)
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Offline conan

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2015, 10:52:55 »
Thanks for that Herb Collector,Always had a soft spot for Art Deco And those are truly magnificent examples.
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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Offline conan

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2015, 13:16:53 »
In the Sultan and the showgirl link (openimg post) there's a picture of a beautiful art deco building in Herne Bay where Lydia Cecilia Hill lived.I was wondering if the property is still there?
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2015, 08:20:03 »
Yes, you are right, HC. For some reason I was thinking the nearest tower was the north-west one.

However, the summary from Front Line County remains valid but only accounts for two of the three bombs of the first load. Perhaps it’s worth discussing in more detail later.
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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2015, 22:20:05 »
Many thanks for the extra information.

The opening shot seems to be looking from the north-west, from the Palace Street area?

I disagree. I think the opening shot shows Burgate Street in the foreground with the south face of the south-west tower of Canterbury Cathedral in the background.
Click here for a photo of the tower taken from a similar angle.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2015, 12:06:46 »
Does this help, summarised from Front Line County?:
At about 11am on Friday 11th October 1940, Me109s being chased by Spitfires dropped two loads of bombs on Canterbury from 30,000 feet, within 15 minutes of each other.

People were taken by surprise by the first 3 bombs. One scored a direct hit on a furrier’s store in Burgate Street. The owner, Mr Irvine Williams, his assistants and customers, and a woman in the bookshop next door, were killed. The people in the tailor’s next to the bookshop were injured.

One bomb fell less than 100 yards from the cathedral, breaking some stained glass windows
. (One minute into the clip, and apparently not the same bomb as hit Burgate Street).

Casualties were 9 killed, 2 seriously injured and 6 slightly hurt.

The opening shot seems to be looking from the north-west, from the Palace Street area?

That would account for the three bombs specifically mentioned, but there is no further mention of the other load of bombs dropped 15 minutes later
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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 22:14:50 »
This short British Pathé film shows, I think, the aftermath of the attack on Burgate Street 11 October 1940.
At the beginning of the clip we see the south-west tower of Canterbury Cathedral. Burgate Street is south of the cathedral. At 0.39 we see, at top, a sign reading Burgate Art Galleries. The date also ties in, almost, with the suggested date by British Pathé of September 1940.
A chap in the comments section states baldly "June 1942, not 1940", without offering any evidence. I would discount this as the damage, as shown elsewhere on this forum, was much more extensive in June 1942.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=rzoHyM-Wq4g
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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 22:12:39 »
This raid recently came up on the BBC website due to the fact that a well known personality of the time was killed. (Lydia Hill, see links below.)

On the 11 October 1940 several Messerschmitts were being chased across Kent by British fighters. The enemy dropped three bombs over Canterbury, the bombs landing on six shops in Burgate street, close to Canterbury Cathedral. Nine people were killed with many more injured. It took two days to dig out the dead.

Those killed in the attack, all civilian.
All, except Lydia Hill, buried at Canterbury County Borough Cemetery.

Gwendoline Rebecca Bragg. Age 28.
Died at Burgate Street.

Gertrude Emma Carver. Age 58.
Lived and died at 20 Burgate Street.

Eva Amy Fairfax-Brown. Age 21.
Died at Burgate Street.

Ethel Frances Hay. Age 74.
Died at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

Lydia Cecilia Cecily Hill. Age 27.
Died at Burgate Street. Buried at Herne Bay Cemetery, Eddington.

Marjorie Freda Doris Horn. Age 20.
Injured at Burgate Street and died same day at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

Gladys Eliza Jane Josling. Age 24.
Injured Burgate Street and died 12 October at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

Minnie Elizabeth Storey. Age 43.
Died at Burgate Street.

Max Irvine Williams. Age 32.
Air Raid Warden. Died at 18 Burgate Street.

          Lydia Cecilia Hill. Born 20 July 1913 at Canterbury. Died 11 October 1940.
          Dancer and favourite of Ibrahim, Sultan of Jahor.

          http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Cissie_Hill

          The Sultan and the Showgirl.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-34649330

 

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