The night Hinckley was bombed

The night a German bomber released 40 high explosive bombs over Hinckley.

No.97 and No.99 Merevale Avenue
No.97 and No.99 Merevale Avenue

Night after night the planes would go over Hinckley on their way to bomb Coventry and Birmingham, Hinckley had escaped until one night in May 1941.

On the night of Friday 16th May 1941, 111 Luftwaffe German bombers took off from a number of airfields in German occupied France, known to the Germans as areas ‘Luftlotte 2’ and ‘Luftlotte 3’. The mission was to bomb Birmingham during the night, using the twin-engined long range bombers, the Heinkel HE111 and the multirole Junkers JU88.

When the bombers reached the Midlands in England, some of the German bombers experienced a navigation error. The bombers that reached Birmingham at 12:45am dropped 150 tons of bombs, including 27 parachute mines. Wolseley Motors factory, ICI factory as well as other factories were destroyed. Many houses and shops were also destroyed during the raid which would last until 3:57am.

While Birmingham was being bombed, the formations that had had the navigation error dropped their bombs on Nuneaton. They mistook the town of Nuneaton for Birmingham, this resulted in 83 people being killed and 380 houses being destroyed. The bombers that had not dropped their full load over Nuneaton would drop any left-over bombs on the return journey to lighten the aircraft to allow them to reach a height such that our search lights and Anti-Aircraft guns could not shoot them down.

Hinckley was on the flight path of the return journey home for the bombers, they would drop a total of 40 high explosive bombs over Hinckley.

Merevale Avenue bomb damaged
Merevale Avenue bomb damaged

Three high explosive bombs went off along Merevale Avenue causing 11 people to lose their lives, which included Charles and Kate Parsons and their daughter Ada. Ada was asleep in bed with her sister Zetta when the bomb came through the roof, a joist fell on top of the girls which resulted in crushing Ada, but Zetta came out of the debris untouched.

At No.66 Merevale Avenue Betty Wilson aged 11 was woken up in bed with part of the ceiling over her, luckily the family got out the house unhurt.

An evacuee family from Coventry also lost their lives, apart from one girl who escaped by a sheet suspended from her bedroom window.

A little dog was heard howling pitifully, it was buried underneath heaps of rubble in one of the bombed houses, unfortunately rescuers were unable to get to the little dog.

No.198 Tudor Road where Mr & Mrs W Coley lived, had an incendiary bomb go through the roof, it was successfully put out with a stirrup pump and fortunately it caused very little damage.

Also along Tudor Road there had been a lot of evacuees from London, Coventry, Swansea, Birmingham and Scotland. The evacuees arrived each Saturday with suitcases and name labels pinned on them.

A bomb dropped a few yards away from the Co-op along Wykin Road, near the pavement, leaving a crater several feet wide and several feet deep. Strangely enough, the iron railing was still stretched over the crater.

Eight high explosive bombs and several hundred incendiaries were also dropped over Burbage and 8 high explosive bombs and incendiaries fell at Sketchley.

Junkers Ju 88 Heinkel He 111
Junkers Ju 88 (left/top), Heinkel He 111 (bottom/right)

17th June 1941 The Hinckley Urban District Council reported that the damage from the air raid was:

The casualties refer to Merevale Avenue:

Merevale Avenue Deaths

A memorial for the bombing that happened at Merevale Avenue, Hinckley on 17th May 1941.

A memorial for the bombing that happened at Merevale Avenue, Hinckley on 17th May 1941
Merevale Avenue memorial

In memory of:

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