Raid No 15
Air Raid warning “Red” was received at 16:28 hrs on November 11th. At 17:15 a single raider, flying northwards, dropped a stick of ten 50 kg HE bombs in a line of a few hundred yards along the western extremity of the town. The British Sugar Corporation’s sugar beet factory at Sproughton was perhaps the target.
The bombs landed as followed:
- No’s 1, 2 and 3: landed in a sand and gravel pit in the East Suffolk area, with only one exploding.
- No 4, 5 and 6: landed in the rear gardens of No’s 637and 639 Bramford Road. One exploded, leaving a small crater.
- No 7: landed in Bramford Road (the B1067).
- No 8: penetrated the roof of No 526 Bramford Road, passing through the house and buried itself in the concrete outside the kitchen door, failing to explode. Two females were slightly injured by flying debris.
- No 9: dropped near an Anderson shelter at the rear of No 69 Henniker Road and failed to explode.
- No 10: penetrated the outhouses and ground floor bathroom of No 65 Henniker Road, failing to explode.
The bomb disposal squad extracted seven of the eight unexploded bombs and exploded them in East Suffolk, the resulting explosion causing some damage to windows in the Bramford Road area. The other bomb proved too difficult to extract and the hole was sealed during the afternoon of the 13th. At about 23:30 that night the bomb exploded but as the bomb was well away from buildings, no damage was done.
It was noted that Police and Wardens had a difficult time in reconnoitring the area due to it being a particularly dark night with strong winds and heavy rain. Evacuation was carried out; two large houses were used by the Public Assistance Committee to house the evacuees.
Right: Area of Raid No 15.
Raid No 16
On Saturday 21st December, Air Raid message “Purple” at 17:36 was received. An single raider was seen in the area for about half an hour before flying in a northwards direction and dropping seven large incendiary bombs and four HE bombs in a line about a mile long in the east area of the town.
The bombs landed as followed:
- No 1: a large incendiary bomb that buried itself in approx 2’6” of soft soil in the garden of No 100 Bixley Road, failing to ignite.
- No 2: a large incendiary bomb which buried itself in about 3’ of soft earth in the garden of No 85 Bixley Road. It ignited but was quickly put out by a Warden shovelling earth in to the hole.
- No 3: a large incendiary bomb which buried itself in the garden of No 62 Bixley road. A women carrying a basket of linen had a fright as the bomb landed within two to three yards of her; she quickly ran to the other side of the house and luckily the bomb did not ignite until she was safe. It then ignited but again was quickly put out by shovelling earth into the hole.
- No 4: a large incendiary bomb which penetrated the roof of No 60 Princethorpe Road, smashing through a kitchen dresser so that the bomb was just about level with the tiled floor.
- No 5: a large incendiary bomb which buried itself in about 2’6” of earth next to an Anderson shelter in the garden of No 22 Princethorpe Road. It failed to ignite.
- No 6: a large incendiary type of bomb which fell in the road, outside No 20 Princethorpe Road. It penetrated the road and ignited but was quickly controlled by shovelling earth into the hole.
- No 7: a large incendiary bomb was buried itself in the garden of No 45 Chilton Road. It ignited but was quickly controlled by the home owner with earth.
- No 8: a HE bomb landing and exploding in the playing fields of Copleston Road School, a short distance from the boundary of the Isolation Hospital.
- No 9: A HE bomb which landed and exploded in a small meadow next to the farm in the grounds of the Borough General Hospital.
- No 10: a HE bomb which landed and exploded about 70 yards from the nurses’ quarters in the Borough General Hospital.
- No 11: a HE bomb which exploded in the west side of the nurses’ quarters between that building and houses in Lattice Avenue.
The fact that so few incendiary bombs were reported caused the Report Centre to query the Wardens as to the type. The unexploded bomb at No 60 Princethorpe was at first reported as an HE bomb. Deputy Controllers where dispatched to investigate.
Police had collected some of the fins of the incendiary bombs which were not recognised as from bombs dropped on the town in the past. The ignition of the bomb was described as “an upward blaze with a crackling sound resembling machine-gun fire”. The bombs were subsequently identified as 43 lb bombs of Italian origin with semi-armour piercing noses.
Reports were sketchy of the HE bombs due to the darkness of the night. A survey the following morning showed craters 10 to 12 feet across and four feet deep. Some splinters travelled for a distance of 50 yards and penetrated the outside 4 1/2” of a brick cavity wall. At least 15 bomb fragments penetrated the nurses’ quarters. The bombs were considered to be 100 kilo semi-armour piercing Italian bombs. Overall damage to the Borough General Hospital, the Isolation Hospital and nearby houses was small, consisting of damaged windows, doors, roofs and walls due to bomb fragments. First Aid repairs to buildings started the following morning. No casualties were reported.
This was one of a small number of raids carried out by the Italians. Germany had managed to keep the Italians out of the Battle of Britain, being just as unimpressed with their allies as the British were with them as an adversary! However Mussolini continued to put pressure on his Ally and Germany allowed a small number of Italian bombers to operate from Belgium. They were not there long, departing in early 1941!
Right: Path of Raid No 16.