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The day German bombs took 27 lives in Norwich - 80 years ago today

PUBLISHED: 11:32 09 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:58 10 July 2020

July 9, 2020 is 80 years to the day that German bombs fell on Norwich for the first time in the Second World War. Picture: Norfolk Collection

July 9, 2020 is 80 years to the day that German bombs fell on Norwich for the first time in the Second World War. Picture: Norfolk Collection

Norfolk Collection

Eight decades have passed since the tragic day German bombs first claimed the lives of people in Norwich.

Boulton & Pauls Riverside Works after a bombing raid. Courtesy of Norfolk County Council. Picture Norfolk Collection.Boulton & Pauls Riverside Works after a bombing raid. Courtesy of Norfolk County Council. Picture Norfolk Collection.

On July 9, 1940, bombs carried by German Luftwaffe planes fell on the city, leaving devastation in their wake and taking the lives of 27 people.

The youngest to fall victim to the raid was 16-year-old Frederick Wright, a labourer who was based at the big Boulton and Paul Riverside works, while the oldest - and first - to be killed was 60-year-old housewife Kate Lovett.

The raid saw bombs dropped on a home in Salhouse Road, Barnard Works, Boulton and Paul Riverside works, Carrow Hill works and Thorpe railway station - now the only remaining active train station in Norwich.

The attack would take the lives of the first of more than 350 victims of the Second World War in Norwich - wounding many more and destroying the homes of hundreds of people.

The mermorial to Boulton & Paul victims of the 1940 Second World War bombing at St Peter Mancroft Church. Photo: Angela SharpeThe mermorial to Boulton & Paul victims of the 1940 Second World War bombing at St Peter Mancroft Church. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Among those killed were five women who were working at the J&J Colman’s factory at Carrow Works, aged between 18 and 40.

Maud Pamela Balaam, 40, Maud Ethel Burrell, 37, Bethel Rose Playford, 19, Gladys Rose Sampson, 18 and Bessie Gladys Upton, 36, were all working at the mustard factory when the bombs fell - and all died from the injuries they suffered.

Their names are now remembered on a green plaque fixed to a wall on Carrow Hill, which was unveiled in 2001.

An exhibit commemorating them was also previously displayed in the Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum in the Royal Arcade.

A plaque at Norwich station commemorating those who were killed on July 9, 1940. Picture: Keith WhitmoreA plaque at Norwich station commemorating those who were killed on July 9, 1940. Picture: Keith Whitmore

The bombs fell without warning and with no air raid siren to be heard - and they symbolised the day war had truly arrived to Norwich.

Two German planes appeared over the city in broad daylight, towards tea-time, sweeping over Barnards Iron Works killing three workers and injuring many others.

The victims of the July 9, 1940, bombings, who will not be forgotten, were:

• Kate Bradfield Lovett, 60, of Grange Cottage, Salhouse Road. A housewife.

Bessi Glaydys Upton. Picture: Antony KellyBessi Glaydys Upton. Picture: Antony Kelly

• Harry Leonard Dye, 35 of 29 Berners Street. A stores packer.

• Frederick Elvin, 32, of 5 Cadge Close, North Earlham

• Albert Ernest Sayer, 53 of 35 St Peter’s Street

• Arthur Sheeve, 30 and of 53 Wymer Street, Norwich. A lorry driver

Maud Ethel Burrell. Picture: Antony KellyMaud Ethel Burrell. Picture: Antony Kelly

• Charles Henry Bacon, 36 of 11 Prospect Road. A steel driller.

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• Rober Daniels, 30 of 30 Bell Road. A steel riveter.

• Herbert Percy Kiddell, 44, of 209 Gertrude Road. A steel erector.

Maud Pamela Balaam Picture: Antony KellyMaud Pamela Balaam Picture: Antony Kelly

• John Henry McMillan, 60, of 235 Little Road, Salford. A labourer.

• Carlos Anthony Sewter, 46, of Little Melton. A machinist mate.

• Walter George Smith, 23, of 114 Vincent Road. A steel driller.

• Arthur Samual Strike, 23, of 23 Clarkson Road. A steel riveter.

Bertha Rose Playford. Picture: Antony KellyBertha Rose Playford. Picture: Antony Kelly

• George Strowger, 27, of 33 Horning Road, West Earlham. A steel palter.

• Frederick Wright, 16, of 21 Hunter Road. A labourer.

• Maud Pamela Balaam, 40, of 7 St John’s Terrace. A mustard packer.

• Maud Ethel Burrel, 37, of 21 Mansfield Lane, Lakenham. A mustard packer.

Gladys Rose Sampson. Picture: Antony KellyGladys Rose Sampson. Picture: Antony Kelly

• Bertha Rose Playford, 19, of 27 Copeman Street, West Pottergate. A mustard tin box machinist

• Gladys Rose Sampson, 19, of 29 Gloucester Street. A mustard tin box machinist.

• Bessie Gladys Upton, 36, of 40 Lewis Street. A mustard factory forewoman.

• Richard Albert Parker, 37, of 8 Belsize Road. A railway boiler maker

The plaque to commemorate the bomb blast at Carrow Hill in 1940 which killed five workmates from Colmans.
Photo: Bill SmithThe plaque to commemorate the bomb blast at Carrow Hill in 1940 which killed five workmates from Colmans. Photo: Bill Smith

• George Arthur Payne, 37, of 79 Bull Close Road. A railway boiler maker.

• Charles George Freeman, 44, of 102 Woodcock Road. An assistant railway boiler maker.

• Bertie Hoult, 55, of 12 Ethel Road. Boiler maker foreman.

• Stanley Douglas Laffling, 23 of 253 Dereham Road. A railway labourer.

• William Benjamin Lord, 50, of 106 Bowthorpe Road. A railway boiler maker.

• Ernest Robert Silon, 58, of 41 North Walsham Road, Old Catton. A railway engine driver.


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