On Sunday 5th January 1941, , Air Raid Message “Yellow” was received at 18:26 and the “Purple” at 18:54 hrs. A single raider was had been in the vicinity of Ipswich for sometime when at 18:50, it dropped a two large bombs in the north-east of the town, one falling in a field just outside the Borough boundary. The other landed in an orchard just within the Borough boundary, about 50 to 100 yards from some houses, making a crater about 15 ft deep and 40 ft across. Some damage was done to tiles, windows and doors of houses. There were no casualties and no call was made on the Rescue and Casualty services. The bomb was considered to be at least 500 kilos in weight.
On Tuesday 7th January a series of Air Raid Messages were received. At about 15:50, a single plane came through the clouds over the river and turning northwards, it dropped a large bomb which landed in Hollywells Park. The bomb penetrated the ground, making a hole about three feet across and failed to explode. The A45 (now the A1156) at Bishops Hill was closed and the houses in the vicinity evacuated, the occupants going to stay with family and friends with a few being accepted at the Heathfields Institute. The local Bomb Disposal Section confirmed the bomb as probably of a 1,000 kilo type. The plane was believed to be a Heinkel 111.
Reports were also received of a plane machine gunning along a road on the eastern side of the Borough, apparently by the same plane that had dropped the bomb. Some damage was done to tiles, ceilings and interior furniture of two bungalows, Nos. 70 and 72 Heath Road.
The A45 was re-opened on Monday 13th and people allowed to return to their homes if they wanted. It took the Bomb Disposal Section until February 15th to recover the bomb, their work complicated by the fact that the bomb had penetrated some 30 feet into the ground and the Section were working in mud and water. Nearby houses had to be evacuated again on February 13th and 14th during the final stages of recovery.
Above: Raid No 18 showing location of bomb and machine gun attack (dashed line)
Raid No 19
On Wednesday 8th January Air Raid Message “Yellow” was received at about 10:00 and at about 10:15 a single raider appeared from the clouds above the river, heading in a northerly direction. It dropped a string of ten 50 kilo HE over a housing estate adjacent to the river, almost exactly along the same line a stick of bombs fell the previous year on July 11th.
The bombs fell as follows:
- Bombs 1 and 2: Direct hits and No’s 6 and 8 Romney Road. A child was killed in No 6 and its parents seriously injured.
- Bombs 3, 4 and 5: Exploded in the gardens between No’6 and 8 Romney Road and No 11 Fletcher Road, making craters about 8 to 10 ft across and 5 ft deep.
- Bomb No 6: Penetrated a window sill and wall of No 11 Fletcher Road, and was found with its nose in the kitchen floor. It was later made safe by the Bomb Disposal Squad.
- Bomb No 7: Fell in the middle of Fletcher Road, between No’s 11 and 14 & 16. A small crater made in the road about 5 ft across and 3 ft deep.
- Bomb No 8: A direct hit on No 16 Fletcher Road, demolishing the house and most of No 14. A woman was found dead under rubble about a yard from an Anderson Shelter and it was thought she was heading for this when the bomb landed. The shelter was undamaged despite being within a triangle of exploding bombs.
- Bombs No 9 and 10: Landed in the gardens of No’s 16 and 18 Romney Road, making craters.
Two Rescue Parties were deployed, one each on the demolished houses in Romney and Fletcher Road. The public had already began to attempt rescue work in Fletcher Road before the Police and Wardens arrived and had to be persuaded to step aside and let the Rescue Party do their job. Some damage was done to overhead power cables but these were quickly repaired. Total casualties were one child and one female killed, a male and female seriously injured and one female and child slightly wounded. Perhaps reflecting the period, public morale was stated not to be affected as the bombs landed in a working class area, who were “used to the ups and downs of life”.
Above: Raid No 19