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BLITZED PENZANCE 867 BOMBS WERE DROPPED IN DISTRICT

Discussion in 'Wartime' started by Halfhidden, Jul 1, 2016.

By Halfhidden on Jul 1, 2016 at 9:06 AM
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    During the severe air blitz on Penzance from 1940 to 1942, the town suffered a loss of 48 houses completely destroyed. 157 seriously damaged but repairable, and 3,752 damaged, a total of 3,957.

    Altogether 867 bombs of all kinds fell in the Penzance area, and one would have thought there would have been a heavy fatality total, but strange to relate there were only 16 fatal casualties, with 42 serious, and 73 slight cases.
    The area of Penzance and West Penwith, of course, is largely rural, with the exception of Penzance, St. Ives and St Just, but even when this is taken into consideration the loss of life had been low.

    There were 713 "alerts." from July 6, 1940, to June 13, 1944.
    The experiences of Penzance and district were revealed in some statistics which had been released after the war. Of the total of bombs 420 were high explosive and 422 incendiaries. It is interesting to work out the enemy mind in his plan of destruction. He started with dropping 53 high explosive bombs on Penzance in 1940 and nothing else, but in the St. Just area he favoured incendiaries and released 78. In 1941 he still favoured high explosives for Penzance —78—but with a mixture of 36 incendiaries. Indeed, his bomb load in 1941 was mostly high explosives, 88 plastering the West Penwith area and 60 falling on St. Just. He reversed his plan somewhat in 1942, still dropping 72 H.E.'s on Penzance, but favouring the rural area with 60 incendiaries. 11 phosphorus, and 28 H.E.'s.

    St. Ives was fortunate, only six bombs falling there, but one raid in 1942 destroyed a public utility undertaking and damaged a number of houses and caused one death. This was a tip-and-run raid by two F.W.'s, and after doing their damage at St. Ives returned by the seashore machine-gunning bathers and everything else in their path, including a St. Ives bus on the way to Penzance. They carried out their orgy of destruction along Marazion beach and Marazion town, but there was only one casualty—an A.R.P. warden in Marazion was slightly injured. It will be seen from these figures that the Germans distributed their favours impartially as between town and country and land and sea, although they did not calculate that many of his most vicious missiles would find a watery grave. There had been 15 fatal casualties in the borough of Penzance, 13 in 1941, one in 1940 and 1942. Most of these occurred in the evening of June 8, 1941. when bombs fell on the residential area of Alma-terrace and St. James-street, killing nine persons and injuring 26. Extensive damage was done to property, about 345 houses being affected. Nine months previously there had been a severe raid by a number of enemy 'planes, which dropped 51 H.E.'s, the largest number dropped on the town at one time, and resulting, in four deaths and the destruction of much property. On both occasions the first-aid and rescue units, under the direction of Dr. Hadfield, did excellent work.

    Although the first experience of the town of a bomb was most alarming, when an oil bomb scored a direct hit on a house in Lannoweth road and an H.E. seriously damaged stores close to the railway station, smashing countless windows for 500 yards up Market Jew-street, the main thoroughfare, the only other attack which need mentioned is the last the September of 1942.

    Several planes took part, dropping 12'H.E.'s and 32 incendiaries, and killing one woman- One of the bombs fell in the centre of an agglomeration of warehouses and stores, with shops on either side, in the business centre of the town. It wrecked the whole place, as well, as numbers of houses, but, strangely, not a single fatality occurred. During this raid the 12-inch trunk water main supply received a direct hit, as did another important 8-inch main.

    The water supply was completely severed, but, notwithstanding this double disaster, the borough engineer (Mr. J. H. Blight) and his staff took such prompt measures that within three hours an alternate water supply was in operation and a serious water shortage for domestic and fire-fighting purposes' averted. The public were quite unconscious of what had happened, and it is only later that they were made aware that but for the speed and skill with which Mr. Blight dealt with the problem they would have been faced with a serious water shortage.

    A hostel used by the Devonport High School for 40 boys was also hit. Wardens rushed with fear to the spot. The boys had taken refuge in a near-by shelter and were safe and sound, barring a few minor injuries.
    During one attack on Penzance an enemy plane, having been struck, sheared off in the direction of St. Just in order make another run. This could not be done as the 'plane was unmanageable, and after trying to maintain control the pilot crashed into a house at St. Just, the machine bursting into flames and killing the crew and the occupant the house. One German who had descended by parachute was detained by A.R.P. wardens, suffering' from a dislocated ankle and a fractured wrist.

    On September 6. 1941, a parachute mine dropped through the roof of Tregavara Chapel, completely demolishing the little church, and on another occasion when Jerry dropped a bomb close to an old coal hulk in Newlyn Harbour he solemnly announced over the radio that he had sunk a 6,000-tons liner in the harbour.

    On June 16, 1942. three bombs dropped on Newlyn and fell in soft earth. Fortunate, indeed, otherwise there would have been much loss of life, as householders were not then provided with Morrison shelters.
     

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Discussion in 'Wartime' started by Halfhidden, Jul 1, 2016.

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