Reading Remembers Victims of Second World War Bombing

AN EVENT to mark the anniversary of a Second World War bomb attack on Reading in which 41 people were killed and many were injured will take place on Monday 10th February.

A short ceremony will be led by the Deputy Mayor of Reading Cllr David Stevens in Town Hall Square at 2pm.

A wreath will be laid at a commemorative plaque to remember the people who lost their lives when a lone German plane dropped four 500kg bombs in Reading town centre on 10th February 1943.

Pupils from St Mary’s & All Saints Primary School will be attending the ceremony and adding wreaths they have made in school. Representatives of the Royal British Legion have previously visited the school and described to pupils what it was like being a child in the war.

All are welcome to attend the ceremony.

Many of those killed in the bombing had been in The People’s Pantry, just opposite the Town Hall, which had been set up as an emergency feeding centre offering cheap meals to help supplement rationed food. A bomb passed through the roof of the building and detonated close to the Town Hall.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled seven years ago as part of the 70th anniversary event to remember all those killed, plus the 150 others who were injured.

Notes for Editors:

The four bombs fell in a line from the north bank of the Kennet to just outside the Town Hall.

The first bomb hit Simmonds Brewery and exploded leaving a 25 ft crater near a paint store. The second passed through the offices of the Labour Party on the south side of Minster Street before exploding in the restaurant of Welsteeds department store across the road.

Falling a few moments later the aircraft’s third bomb collapsed part of the Victorian arcade linking Broad St and Friar St before exploding in a yard outside the People’s Pantry in Friar St, one of the town’s ‘British Restaurants’ set up as Emergency Feeding Centres and to offer cheap meals to help supplement rationed food.

Paddington Bear author Michael Bond, was installing a radio transmitter on top of the People’s Pantry at the time.

The final bomb passed through the top of the People’s Pantry building and detonated a few feet from the south tower of the town hall, bringing down the front of Blandy and Blandy’s solicitors, damaging St Laurence’s Church and severely damaging the Town Hall itself, which was the control centre for Civil Defence in the town.

As the bomber flew off the crew machine gunned the town, injuring a woman in Hemdean Road, Caversham and damaging a school.

Tragically, only 37 of those among the dead and injured were identified, the youngest being two 10-year-old children.


David Millward

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