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Author Topic: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940  (Read 46848 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #189 on: March 02, 2016, 20:51:36 »
A view on GSV from the same spot as CAT’s first post shows the damage on the north side to be only that sustained on 11/10/1940. The nearest still standing building is now occupied by Bang & Oluffsen and is presumably No 16a. At the far end of the destroyed length is the four-storey building now occupied by Ryman’s – it is No 24, so what happened to No 23? So, remarkably, no further damage was done on he north side by the 1942 raid. I had typed this before I saw his later posts, but I think they generally support that opinion – but apologies if there are contradictions or repeats in this paragraph

Nemo, how do you do it? I Googled Lady Davidson and got the wrong one. It’s not fair. :)

Agreed that the description of the first three bombs now seems doubtful, but it is in the paragraph of Front Line County that describes the raid on Canterbury, so in the absence of contrary evidence there seemed no reason to disbelieve it. I am now wondering if they were dropped during the second attack and were among others scattered over the Canterbury area.

I think we concluded a while back that the thoughts of a  person in a frightening situation are restricted to what immediately concerns them, and it would  be no surprise if other things happened that Vera didn’t notice or had forgotten - or mis-remembered - 64 years later. Also she was inside the shelter and relying on her hearing. I can testify that the main feature of an air attack is the terrifying noise; made more so if you can’t see what is going on. On more than one occasion we came up from the cellar in Ross Street expecting to find the place flattened, only to find there was no damage.

Presumably Vera was in the shelter because an alert had sounded, but for most of time during an alert nothing happened, so it's no contradiction to say that people (presumably in the street) were surprised.

Anyway, it now seems apparent that there was only the one bomb, and that was a near miss on No 20 and not a direct hit on No18, as we were led to believe until CAT posted his recent map..

I was going to start the ball rolling with a scenario of what happened in the air, but have perhaps gone on for long enough for now, so back to that later.
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Offline CAT

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #188 on: March 02, 2016, 20:20:01 »
This is my telling pic, which on first site appears to show nothing new about the devastation along Burgate Street? However, to position yourself it clearly shows the remains of Canon Crumm's House (centre) with the tower of St Mary's Church towards the top left corner. If you look to the left of Canon Crumm's former home (below the church tower) you can see a tipper truck (colloquial) about to drive into Burgate street from across the infill of the bomb crater from the 1940 raid (the one that destroyed the north side of Burgate Street). I think this shows how big this one crater was despite it being part filled and prior to the total levelling of the remains to the buildings on the south side? Does this pic. imply the crater was already being infiled prior to the '42' raid?

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that after looking at all the images of the Canterbury bombings most appear to have been grouped into the '42' raid. However, certainly along Burgate street, images of the earlier '40' raid can be separated as the bombing along the north side, which initially cause shock damage to the buildings on the south side. These were subsequently destroyed in '42' mainly by fire cause by incendiaries? 

Offline CAT

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #187 on: March 02, 2016, 19:51:28 »
Hi JW
Strange how when you start looking, those pictures that you had looked at for years become relevant? This is a copy of a picture I had looked at for hours without fully taking it all in. I assumed this was taken towards the end, if not after, WWII and clearly shows the missing portions of Burgate Street.

I'm digging deep here and have found another very telling image, which I shall scan and post ASAP.

Offline JohnWalker

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #186 on: March 02, 2016, 19:45:23 »
What an excellent picture CAT - I've not seen that before.  Makes it so much clearer which buildings were affected.

JW

Offline CAT

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #185 on: March 02, 2016, 19:37:18 »
One of the views I had come across, which is a painting looking west along Burgate Street following the aftermath of the '42' raids as the timber-framed building on the southern side of the street are gone as well as the buildings on the northern side.

Offline Nemo

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #184 on: March 02, 2016, 15:15:38 »
Edith Murdoch Davidson was referred to as the 'late Lady Davidson' because she had passed away on 26th June 1936 - see https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19360627&id=SP09AAAAIBAJ&sjid=TkkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4872,4636552&hl=en.

I agree the phrase "the first three bombs came whistling down" indicates that there were more than three in all and that it suggests the first three fell together, whistling.  What does seem certain is that we have no evidence, so far at least, that they landed on Canterbury - no fatalities, reports, images or bombsites.  That doesn't necessarily mean that the evidence doesn't exist, any more than the account given to someone sheltering in an air raid shelter (why was she there, by the way?) is necessarily inaccurate; however, the Front Line County's claim appears, thus far, to be unsubstantiated.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #183 on: March 02, 2016, 14:53:08 »
Thanks Nemo, that rules out a bomb on the Organist House on 11/10/1940.

But we still have the following to consider:

If the Lady Davidson referred to was the MP for Hemel Hempstead from 1937 to 1959, she died in 1985. So why was she called ‘the late Lady Davidson’? Probably irrelevant, but seemingly irrelevant points have proved important in the past.

Front Line County says the cathedral was less than a hundred yards from where one bomb fell, but that could mean the same bomb that it erroneously says fell on No 18 Burgate.

The phrase “The first three bombs came whistling down” strongly implies that they all came at the same time but, in view of all the other anomalies that have been revealed in this thread, that does not necessarily mean so.

What does seem certain – well, almost certain – is that there was more than one bomb. What about the other raid 15 minutes later, and the bomb that upset the cows’ lunch?

However, on the balance of probabilities, it now seems that only one 250kg bomb fell at that instant, which raises the question of what brought a lone Jabo above Canterbury? The only firm facts we have are that a raid - or closely timed sequence of raids - came in over Hastings at ‘up to’ 33,000 feet’, got into some scraps over west Kent (ref your combat reports many posts back), and allegedly attacked Ashford, Deal and Folkestone, as well as Canterbury, on the way home.
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Offline Nemo

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #182 on: March 02, 2016, 12:55:19 »
I believe it can be ruled out.  I can't find a date for the destruction of the late Lady Davidson’s house (No.14D Precincts aka ”Starr’s House” aka Fotherby's), however the Organist House appears to have been destroyed in 1942 - see http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/43755476 and http://www.pastscape.org.uk/monumentinfo.aspx?a=0&hob_id=464679&criteria=canterbury%20cathedral&search=all&rational=q&recordsperpage=10&sort=4.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #181 on: March 02, 2016, 11:57:03 »
This is probably not relevant, but for completeness, from Fromt Line County:
On 9th September at 5pm, German planes being driven off by Spitfires (They always have to have an incentive, like being chased etc!) dropped 55 bombs in three lines across Canterbury. The list of places hit includes the Cathedral Precincts, but not Burgate.

It was the statement that the furrier’s at No 18 got a direct hit that caused the confusion. A single large bomb in the centre of the row meets all the criteria of my ‘mathematical analysis’ a few posts back, except one – it didn’t spread across the road. That could be explained by the bomb falling at the back of No 20, which would have prevented that, but it did spread the other way into the Cathedral Precinct.

But however cynical we might be about Wikepedia – and I think I have a reputation for being cynical about everything and have been in ‘trouble’ for it in the past – there is still the matter of those three bombs, also mentioned in Front Line County. That ‘rumour’ (call it what you will) must have had some basis, which is why I asked CAT if the two further bombs he mentioned fell at the same time – it would suggest a formation of three Jabos releasing their loads in unison. I agree that would raise many new questions, but can it be ruled out?
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Offline JohnWalker

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #180 on: March 02, 2016, 09:42:54 »
Having now looked at this current view I can as has been said that my previous photo is a bit further along Burgate  (toward Lower Bridge street end)

I can now see that the large building with just the rear wall standing is No. 10 on CAT's plan and a new building is in it's place..  The building with the curved rear wall  is No. 11 and still exists.

So, basically it would appear that apart form interest the blitz photo doesn't really help this thread and is almost certainly from one of the later raids.

JW

Offline Nemo

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #179 on: March 02, 2016, 09:17:23 »
John Walker: I think that, like CAT, I'm not "feeling the love" for that photo being of "our" site - I've tried inverting CAT's plan and I just can't make them match.  My problems are: what are A, B and C in my doctored version below, and where is St  Mary Magdalen's tower; plus I suspect that the chimneys of building D don't match those of the surviving building at 00:12 of the ITN/Reuters clip at post 120.

A pre-war aerial shot is here: http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw013271?search=canterbury&order=1&ref=7; register for free and one can zoom in.

Offline CAT

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #178 on: March 02, 2016, 08:32:20 »
Is the last photo of the ruins of 'Residence of the late Lady Davidson' further along Burgate (Street) with the 'Georgian' buildings on the opposite side of the street being those still surviving today? The standing façade/Lady Davidson house would have stood on the site of the present Burgate Books and the British Red Cross Charity Shop.


Offline peterchall

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #177 on: March 02, 2016, 08:13:22 »
Could the photo pre-date 11/10/1940? Is there any record of damage to Burgate before then?

A feature of the incident is the low number of casualties. 9 fatalities and 8 injuries with about 8 shops destroyed and a crowded(?) street seems remarkably low. But if some of the premises were already closed due to damage, that could account for it.

Just a quick thought
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Offline JohnWalker

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #176 on: March 02, 2016, 06:29:41 »
I can't quite get my head round this undated photo.  Compare it with CAT's plan.

It is the rear of the row of buildings in question.   The building in the middle of the photo would appear to be No.17 going by the bow windows that run top to bottom and also show on CATS plan.  The large building on the left with just the rear wall standing would be No.16.  So it would appear that 18, 19 and possibly 20 are still standing, albeit damaged.  Cannon Crumms house can also be seen in the foreground.  Surely the crater should show in this photo.

What confuses me is the total destruction of the buildings directly opposite No.17 which I thought weren't destroyed until the 1942 raid. 
(The other buildings on the opposite side of Burgate and to the left, which look mainly intact still exist)

I will be interested in how other interpret this photo.

Offline CAT

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Re: Hit and Run Attack on Canterbury. 11 October 1940
« Reply #175 on: March 01, 2016, 23:13:15 »
Hi peterchall. As far as i can ascertain a total of fifteen HE bombs are recorded as falling within the entire Cathedral precincts, one of which destroyed the former Cathedral library. However I cannot safely say that all of these were during the 1940 raid or is an accumulation with the 1942 event?

 

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