The first air raid on Ipswich occurred on the night of 21st and 22nd June 1940. At approx 23.05 hrs Air Raid Warning “Red” was received. However nothing happened for about an hour until a plane was heard, considered to be at a great height. At about 00.20 hrs a whistling noise was heard by wardens and others over a large part of the town and wardens in the Dale Hale Lane and Henley Road area saw large clouds of smoke and dust.
On investigating, a HE bomb was found to have dropped just in front of a detached house in Dale Hall Lane. As the Wardens knew the house was occupied by three persons, Control Centre was notified and within three minutes a Rescue Squad arrived. A second Squad arrived at about 01.56 hrs. These Squads were relieved by fresh parties after about two hours. The house was extensively damaged and it was not until 0700 hrs in the morning that all three bodies were recovered. The work was difficult because of the large amount of rubble that had to be moved in darkness. A room in the house, on the side nearest the blast had been turned into a refuge room with sandbags etc. It was noted that although there was damage to all the rooms in the house, those rooms furthest away from the bomb would have given some degree of protection.
Debris had been thrown over a wide area, damaging six other houses. It is interesting to note that the Chief Constables report notes that there was no evidence of blast damage and that all the damage to the other houses had been caused by flying debris.
Nine other HE bombs were dropped, of which four exploded and five failed to explode. One formed a crater of 24 ft diameter and seven ft deep in soft soil. One demolished a small outhouse in a row of cottages while the others all penetrated the earth to quite a depth, those that exploded only slightly lifting the earth. Two bombs caused slight damage to gas and water mains, resulting in about 150 people having to be evacuated from the area. The ten bombs dropped all fell in a straight line of 600 to 700 yards.
A black cardboard tube, 14 inches long and about 1 5/8 inches in diameter was found in a street near the centre of town. It was pointed at one end and sealed at the other with two slots opposite each other at one end. It was thought to have been attached to the bombs to produce the whistling noise. The whistling effect of the bombs had caused many reports of bombs dropping in other parts of the town which did not stand up on further investigation.
Above: Summary of Air Raid No. 1, Ipswich, 22 June 1940
Ipswich Air Raid Reports, SRO
Summary of Air Raids - Ipswich, SRO