St Barnabas Bomb

Second World War Damage in Church Road

A Photograph of the Damage to the St Barnabas Mission Hall from Rev Ambrose
From Hadleigh An Essex Village by Hancock and Harvey

One night in 1944 changed the lives of many people in Hadleigh when a single flying bomb fell near the old St Barnabas church killing 1 man, injuring 17 and leaving 80 local residents homeless.

A WW2 Braintree Division police bomb damage report of 17/11/1944 which detailed the Church Road (St Barnabas) bomb described it as falling “100 yards north of junction with Woodfield Road “. This included the information that when 1 “fly” exploded, 1 man died, 17 were injured (2 seriously: a 2 year old boy and an 8 year old girl), 7 houses and 1 hall were demolished, 31 houses and the church and “building works” were slightly damaged. 386 other properties were damaged and 80 persons were rendered homeless.

A search of the local newspaper found no mention of the incident, just a later comment that the Christmas fete was successful despite some “local difficulties”. The bomb was referred to in a story by Maureen Hume on the BBC History website in 2005. She was 4 when the war started and the article on the website contains her memories of earlier air raids. It then goes on to say, “One night in 1944 we were all in bed when we heard the dreaded drone of a doodlebug, the engine stopped mum got out of bed and just stood by the side I dived under the blankets there was one almighty bang it had crashed further up the road only one person was killed a Mr Jones just discharged from the army with shell shock he’d gone outside”.

Maureen Hume was living in 95 Church Road at the time and knew the one man, Mr Jones, who died. All she heard in her bungalow was a tinkling of glass, but she believes that her bungalow was spared as it lies within a dip in the road. She was told that Mr Jones had been in his back garden in one of the 3 houses next to St Barnabas when the bomb fell. The rest of his family were indoors and survived.

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