An Eye Witness Account of when the bombs dropped

The following letter has been made available to “Nuneaton Memories” by Mr & Mrs Gilkes of Chapel End. A very touching account of when the bombs dropped on Nuneaton in 1941. We are very grateful to you for allowing us to see them and share them on our blog.

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9 thoughts on “An Eye Witness Account of when the bombs dropped

  1. 58 College Street
    Chilvers Coton

    June 11th 1941

    My Dear Sister and Brother

    Just a few lines hoping you are going on alright. I hope Harry’s operation is a success and that he is back home again. I am pleased to say that I am feeling better so nothing to brag about. Alf neither. I would not send you word on your birthday but we didn’t escape the blitz but we have got a lot to be thankful for as it is. All our houses are seriously damaged Coton Road worse than here but they can all be repaired. I hope we never experience another night like the 17th of May. It all happened so sudden, the bombs started to do almost as soon as the siren went. You know the road down the lane, there were /contd

  2. /2
    2 dropped there, stripped the roofs of the emergency hospitals and made tremendous craters and blew every window out of that house that stands back Hampsons/Rampsons? , you might have heard me mention their name, and stripped every tile off the roof, it was a miracle they weren’t both killed. Mrs Hampton/rampton? Is in the hospital, and there was one dropped just down the road here, opposite those houses up the bank, and it partly demolished the house with that very high wall and killed the woman, and her husband had died since although he walked about four some days after, for Alf saw him and talked to him, and then there were 2 dropped in the gardens, not next to our pigsty but the next, more down towards the canal, so you see we had them all round us, it almost stripped all these roofs and blew our /contd

  3. /3
    Front door off, ours and next doors, and shattered the windows all round about us in the square. Farnells/Larnells ? roof looks a sight at the back but I think they will be able to repair it, and then to top it all, all this heavy rain started when we hadn’t any roofs on so it has brought a lot of the ceilings down, but we have got the downstairs rooms as we can use. We have got our bed down so we have got a lot to be thankful for a we have got a shelter, though it tore a piece out of the little room ceiling about 2 yards long and neatly a yard wide. Mrs Moreton has got her beds downstairs and they sleep on the floor. They have sent some men to tile the roofs today so we shan’t be so bad when the roofs are on. We have got that dark felt on the windows but they /contd

  4. /4
    are going to replace it with light stuff so it will make it a bit better for us. There are 16 houses demolished up Heath End the other side of the Chapel and 11 people killed, and a lot of people killed at Nuneaton. Edward Street co-op was burnt down and some houses against it, and Coton Church destroyed. I can’t tell much about the other parts of town because I haven’t been anywhere but I know it was terrible. It was such High Explosives they used and they seemed to keep going round in circles and they had got the fires going so they could see where they were. There was a factory burnt down against Courtaulds, it was locked up and no fire spotters and when they dropped the incendaries it was soon all alight. There was an incendary crashed through Ada’s roof into the bedroom but Fred and Lucy put it out. Some took word down to Eadys? about our houses, someone was soon up here too see if we were alright so we /contd

  5. /5
    Felt we had somebody belonging us. We have had some blows in our time but this beats all, for it has nearly bowled me over, it is when night comes as it is the fear of a return. They were over Park? Street and dropped some bombs not far from the Clara pit that is up against where the old man odell? used to live. Now I almost forgot to tell you I sent word to Sam asking him to fetch the furniture away as we hadn’t got room for it or I should be obliged to put some of it outside as we couldn’t bring the bed down with their couch in the little room, and I told him I thought he ought to help pay that money as there was still £31.0.0 owing, so he came to see us and brought £10.0.0 and then fetched the furniture, weren’t I thankful to see it go. He stayed to tea on the Sunday.
    He stayed over 3 hours when he came and seemed lots to go away and asked us not to think too bad of him /contd

  6. Thursday morning

    Thank the Lord we are safe again, we have been in the shelters 3 hours again. We could hear the bombs dropping, we heard that they were Albury and Arley way but they kept circling round again before they dropped them and it sort of puts the wind up one.
    I mustn’t make it seem blanket than it is for it didn’t break the windows in the end of the house so we can still look out and that is something to be thankful for isn’t it, and there is just room for the one easy chair and the wireless in the little room and Mick sleeps in the chair at night so we are all together so now I must stop croaking and close, with love to you all from your loving sister and brother xxxx Polly and Alf. Thank you for card.

  7. It will need proofreading, I had some difficulty with names. Transcribed as a labour of love for my parents and all those of the generation that lived through those terrible times 😀

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