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CASUALTIES OF THE BOMBING OF NEWTON ABBOT

 

Bombed cottages in Newton Abbot

Station Cottages, Newton Abbot

15 people were killed in this raid on the evening of 4 August 1940

 

There were at least 65 air raids on Newton Abbot.  In all, the town was hit by some 50 high explosive bombs and some 8000 incendiary devices. Nearly 90 people were severely injured and the death  toll was 22. This is a summary of some of the early  raids:

20 August 1940: 
The raid took place in the evening with three planes targeting the Railway Station. Of the surrounding streets, Station Cottages and Forde Road suffered direct hits. In this raid, fifteen people were killed and Forde Park was badly damaged by blast. As well as the attack on the station with  high explosive bombs, the area was strafed with machine gun fire. Just before the attack a crowded train for Plymouth had pulled out of the station but another Plymouth train was standing at the down platform and this was attacked. Severe damage was caused to the station with 15 locomotives, 52 passenger carriages and 22 goods wagons being also damaged. 60 people were seriously injured.

16 October 1940: 

A single plane flew over and dropped four high explosive bombs and a batch of incendiaries near Wolborough Church.

21 October 1940:

Five bombs were dropped at Lindridge, near Bishopsteignton, destroying stables and greenhouses.

18 November 1940: 

A mine was dropped on Bovey Tracey near the Devon House of Mercy. Only five people were injured but the Parish Church was badly damaged from blast. This explosion was strong enough to shake a large area of Newton Abbot, causing structural damage.

12 December 1940: 

A hit and run raid on nearby Kingsteignton in which high explosive bombs and hundreds of incendiaries were dropped

.

10 January 1941: 

Another hit and run raid on Kingsteignton but this time, little damage was reported.

14 January 1941: 

Two high explosive bombs landed on Bradley Lane but resulted in minor damage only.

17 May 1941:

An enormous 2,500 lbs bomb fell onto the the swimming pool area at the Penn Inn together with 9 smaller bombs. The large  bomb measured 9 feet long by two feet wide and was so heavy that it disappeared down into a swampy area and actually exploded below ground. The resulting crater was just 50 feet from the main Newton Abbot to Torquay Road close to Addison Road. Glass in a nearby commercial greenhouse was shattered but otherwise there was little damage and, amazingly, no injuries. 

7 July 1941:

A Heinkel bomber was shot down over Newton Abbot, ultimately crashing near Haldon.  Three of the crew were killed but the pilot baled out and was captured in the village of Kenton. The plane had been carrying three 250 lb bombs and these were jettisoned in the vicinity of Newton Abbot. One exploded without causing damage or injury and the other two were defused.

25 April 1942:

A major raid on Newton Abbot took place during the night of  this particular Saturday. Mount Pleasant, Devon Square and the road to Torquay were hit and severely damaged. Five people were killed and the nearby shops in Queen Street were badly damaged by blast.

20 December 1942:

Ipplepen was machine gunned and the church tower was badly damaged by cannon fire.

There were many other air raids which caused damage to property. 

 

Map of Devon showing Newton Abbot

Between the two World Wars, Devon became a popular holiday destination for some Germans. In 1939, many of these ex-tourists volunteered useful local knowledge of the County to the German High Command. Devon was seen by them as a place of strategic importance and Newton Abbot was marked out as a key point on the route connecting military bases elsewhere in the UK with the coast. Cutting the line at Newton Abbot could result in a blockade of the line connecting Plymouth's Naval Dockyard with the rest of the country - or so the Germans believed - curiously, they seemed to be unaware that an alternative route existed inland over part of Dartmoor.

 

DILYS ADAMS
Child. Dilys Adams of 30, Quarry Park Road, Peverell, Plymouth. Daughter of William Gilbert Adams and Winifred Adams (see below). Died 20 August 1940 at the G.W.R Station, Newton Abbot aged 6.
WINIFRED ADAMS

(See Maud Heath below)

Civilian. Winifred Adams of 30 Quarry Park Road, Peverell, Plymouth. Wife of William Gilbert Adams and mother of Dilys (see above.) Died 20 August 1940 at the G.W.R Station, Newton Abbot aged 20.

JOHN H. M . BAKER
Civilian. John Henry Matthews Baker  of "Tresco", Venn Way, Plymouth.  Son of Henry Orsini Baker of 138, Shrewsbury Road, New Southgate, London and the late Bessie Baker; husband of Bertha Broadhead Baker. Died 20 August 1940 at the G.W.R Station, Newton Abbot aged 49.
ARTHUR R. BEST
Civilian. Arthur Robert Best of 42 Tudor Road, Newton Abbot. Son of the late Henry and Elizabeth Best of 31 Tudor Road and husband of Selina Best (née Field) of 31 Tudor Road. Born in the March Quarter of 1884 in Newton Abbot. Died 20 August 1940 at the G.W.R Station, Newton Abbot aged 57.
CHARLES H. BUCKINGHAM
Civilian. Charles Henry Buckingham of 3 Courtenay Place, East Street, Newton Abbot. Son of Benjamin and Ann Buckingham and husband of Ethel Kate Buckingham (née Sampson). Born in Somerset in 1885.  Died 20 August 1940 at the G.W.R Station, Newton Abbot aged 54.
SAMUEL F. C. CHETHAM
Civilian Special Constable. Samuel Fisher Copeland Chetham of "St. Bernards", Wolborough Hill, Newton Abbot. Husband of Dorothy Kate Chetham. Born in India. Injured at Berwyn Hotel 25 April 1942; died same day at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 63.
ANDRE P. K.  CLAY

See Elsie Yates Clay below:

Civilian. Andre Percy Kenneth Clay of 2 Holyrood Place, The Hoe, Plymouth. Son of William Henry Clay, and of Elsie Yates-Clay. Injured 20 August 1940, at G.W.R. Station; died at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 19.

ROBERT CRUTE

See Thomas Monaghan below:

Civilian. Robert Crute of 4 Salisbury Road, Newton Abbot. Son of John and Ann Crute of Newton Abbot, husband of Maria Crute and stepfather of Thomas Monaghan below. Born in the March Quarter of 1872 in Newton Abbot. Died at Devon Square, Newton Abbot 25 April 1942 aged 70. 

JAMES D. M. GAVIGAN
Civilian. James D. M. Gavigan of 2 Holyrood Place, The Hoe, Plymouth. Son of Mary and Thomas Gavigan of Batley, Yorks. Born in 1900.  Injured on 20 August 1940 at the G.W.R. Station; died same day on way to Newton Abbot Hospital aged 40.
MAUD HEATH

See also Winifred and Dilys Adams above:

Civilian. Maud Annie A. Heath of 30 Quarry Park Road, Peverell, Plymouth. Daughter of William and Sarah Duke and wife of Richard William Henry Heath. Born in Plymouth in the June Quarter of 1880. Died 21 August 1940 at the G.W.R. Station aged 60.

DOROTHY LETHBRIDGE

Civilian. Dorothy Mary Lethbridge of 5 Buller Road, Newton Abbot. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Cook, of 19 Park Road, Fowey, Cornwall; wife of *Engine Room Artificer Frank H. Lethbridge, R.N. Injured 20 August 1940, at the G.W.R. Station; died at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 24.

*Engine Room Artificer Frank Herbert Lethbridge of the Royal Navy, HMS Stanley. Died 19 December 1941 aged 34. Mentioned in Despatches.

KENNETH MAUNDER
Child. Kenneth Alfred John Maunder of 97 Stone Barton, Plympton. Died 20 August 1940 at the G.W.R. Station aged 9.
THOMAS MONAGHAN

See Robert Crute above:

Civilian. Thomas Wilfred K. Monaghan of 4 Salisbury Road, Newton Abbot. Son of Maria Crute (formerly Monaghan),and stepson of Robert Crute (see above). Born in Newton Abbot in the March Quarter of 1900. Died 25 April 1942 at Devon Square aged 42.

FREDERIC G. PEARSE
Civilian Special Constable. Frederic George Pearse of 46 Keyberry Park, Newton Abbot. Son of John and Mary Pearse of The Dairy, Decoy, Newton Abbot and husband of E. A. Pearse. Born in the March Quarter of 1893 in Newton Abbot. Died 25 April 1942 at Torquay Road, Newton Abbot aged 49.
ANNIE. L. PICKARD
Civilian. Annie Louisa Pickard of 14 Devon Square, Newton Abbot. Daughter of Job Pickard, of Lea Hurst, Torquay. Born in the March Quarter of 1870 in Torquay. Injured in May 1942; died at Melvin Nursing Home, Seymour Road aged 72.
WILLIAM C. ROWE
Civilian Home Guard. William Charles Rowe of 3 South Devon Terrace, Newton Abbot. Son of Mary Rowe of 22 Burns Avenue, Burnthouse Lane, Exeter, and the late Edward Rowe and husband of Primrose Anne Rowe. Injured 20 August 1940 at 3 South Devon Terrace; died same day at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 31.
CHARLES E. SANDERSON*
Civilian Fireman in the National Fire Service. Charles Edward Sanderson of 154 Greenhill Road, Handsworth, Birmingham. Son of Charles and Caroline Sanderson, of 77 Yateley Avenue, Great Barr, Staffordshire and husband of Gertrude Sanderson. Injured 15 July 1944, at Buckfastleigh; died at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 38.
FREDERICK H. STARR
Civilian. Frederick Harold Starr of 29 Manor Road, Broadlands Avenue, Newton Abbot. Son of Frederick and Amy Starr, of 29 Spencer Road, Newton Abbot and husband of Gladys Starr. Born in Somerset in the March Quarter of 1905. Injured at the G.W.R. Station 20 August 1940; died same day at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 35.
KATHLEEN L. WEATHERDON
Civilian. Kathleen Louisa Weatherdon of 4 Mary Place, Blockhouse Road, Devonport Daughter of J. H. and B. Symons, of Solland Cottage, Exbourne and wife of F. S. Weatherdon. Born in Devonport in the June Quarter of 1901.Injured at the G.W.R. Station 20 August 1940; died same day at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 39.
WILLIAM A. WHITEHORN
Civilian. William Arthur Whitehorn of 28 Torquay Road, Wolborough (Newton Abbot). Died 25 April 1942 at 28 Torquay Road aged 66.
AGNES WOODERS
Civilian. Agnes Wooders of 5 Mount Bennett Terrace, Tywardreath, Par, Cornwall. Daughter of the late William and Agnes Eddy and wife of William George Wooders. Born in Ludgvan, Cornwall in the March Quarter of 1878 Injured 20 August 1940, at the G.W.R. Station; died at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 62.
ELSIE YATES-CLAY

See Andre Clay above:

Civilian. Elsie Yates Clay of 2 Holyrood Place, The Hoe, Plymouth.Wife of William Henry Clay and mother of Andre Clay (see above). Injured 20 August 1940, at the G.W.R. Station; died at Newton Abbot Hospital aged 42.

 

*Not directly a casualty of a raid on Newton Abbot though that is where he died.His name does not appear alongside those of other civilian casualties on the commemorative bronze plaque which surrounds the Newton Abbot Memorial. Buckfastleigh was also bombed on 23 December 1940.

 


 

 
 
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