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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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War Memorials



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During the 1939 - 1945 war, a number of public bodies were charged with keeping records of air raids within their immediate vicinity. However, as the war progressed, it sometimes became very difficult to maintain accurate records as air attacks became more and more frequent. Consequently, researchers will occasionally find discrepancies in dates and other details. As with the list on this site, there are often casualties missing - their names may be recorded elsewhere or they may never have been identified - in the chaos of wartime conditions this was inevitable.


The Palace Hotel after the December raid

The Palace Hotel after the December raid in 1942

 Courtesy The Torbay Herald?


Most of the major hotels in Torquay were eventually taken over for military use. The RAF came first, arriving in Babbacombe in June 1940 to set up a Training establishment, followed by another at Torre Abbey in September 1941. Several hotels were commandeered for accommodation purposes and the Training establishments extended to the Grand Hotel and Castle Chambers. The Palace Hotel was to  become important as an RAF Hospital and, of course, the whole harbour area was later to provided a rehearsal ground for the D-Day Landings. Looking at areas eventually bombed by the German Luftwaffe, it is fairly clear that they had reliable intelligence and were not  trying to scare the local population with random bombing. They struck at the Babbacombe area more than once, targeted the area surrounding Torre Abbey and finally, directly attacked the Palace Hotel twice notwithstanding the red cross painted on its roof.


A high price paid was by military personnel stationed in the town and by Torquay's civilian population, many of whom had fled there having been bombed out  in other parts of the country. A distressing number of children are among the casualties - a number boosted by the dreadful incident on 30 May 1943 at St. Marychurch


The list below is not a complete list of all of Torquay's air raids but does include those in which loss of life was high. It is believed that, in all, 168 civilians were killed (although the list below contains  only 134 names*) with 158 others being seriously injured and that 137 houses were completely destroyed; the number of war-damaged properties is not known but was high. 



August 20th - Eight small bombs were dropped on Babbacombe Road.

22nd April - Lower and Middle Warberry Roads - a number of properties destroyed among them the home of the Chief Air Raid Warden - two of his children were killed.

May 4th - 31 High Explosive bombs were dropped in Forest Road, on Daison Heights and at Maidencombe.


April 24th   Salisbury Avenue, Hele.

June 7th - Tip and Run raid - the Regina Hotel was badly damaged St' Luke's Road. St Luke's Park.

August 3rd -  St. Marychurch Road, Hingston Road, St Luke's Park, Warbro Road Babbacombe.

September 4th  - 31 killed . FW190 shot down on the beach by anti-aircraft gunfire from the shore. Targets included that part of Chelston near RAF Torre Abbey, the Regal Cinema, Tor Hill Road etc.

October 25th - Lindridge Park, St Paul's Church. This was the first raid on the Palace Hotel (requisitioned in 1939 for use as an RAF hospital. A large red cross was painted on the roof of the hotel according to the Geneva convention). The vicinity strafed by gunfire. Hospital full of service personnel at this time 19 killed, 45 injured  and one person missing. Other parts of Torquay were attacked and a gas holder at Hele set on fire.

December 30th - Palace Hotel attacked again hospital repeated - centre portion of the building severely damaged.


January 8th - Barton Hill Road

February 13th - Chelston

May 30th. St Marychurch completely destroyed. Petitor Road, Teignmouth Road, Babbacombe Downs etc.,  Torquay Sea Front.

May 29th - Park Crescent, The  Bay Court Hotel,  Park Place, Victoria Park Road Babbacombe, Bronshill Road.


* Many of these "missing" names appear on other listings. This is because, for example, badly wounded casualties may have been taken to emergency hospitals in other places where they later died; members of the various civil defence groups were often drafted in from other areas - if they were killed in action,  their deaths would be recorded there.


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