Bournemouth Blitz
Part of the Strategic bombing campaign of World War II

VE Day Memorial Stone in Bournemouth Gardens
Date1940 to 1944
Location
Bournemouth, Hampshire (now Dorset), England

The Bournemouth Blitz was the heavy bombing of Bournemouth, Hampshire (but now in Dorset), England from 1940 to 1944, by the Nazi German Luftwaffe during the Second World War.[1]

More than 2,200 bombs fell on Bournemouth and Poole during World War II, and 350 civilians and servicemen were killed.[2]

Events

1940

Robert Louis Stevenson's house Skerryvore, at the head of Alum Chine, was severely damaged by bombs during a destructive and lethal raid on the night of 15–16 November 1940. Despite a campaign to save it, the building was demolished.[3]

1941

On 27 March 1941, a lone German bomber hit the canteen at the Bourne Valley gasworks killing 33 people.[4][5] This was the deadliest air raid that Poole suffered.[6]

1943

The Punshon Memorial Methodist Church was built in replacement of the destroyed church.
Royal London House stands where the Metropole Hotel once stood.

The biggest air raid was on 23 May 1943 in which many Focke-Wulf 190 planes dropped 25 bombs on the town.[7]

The buildings targeted that day included the Central Hotel at Richmond Hill; the Shamrock and Rambler coach station at Holdenhurst Road and Beales department store.[8] The Methodist Church on Exeter Road was destroyed and 77 people were killed.[9]

The biggest loss was the Metropole Hotel in Lansdowne, where many Allied servicemen were staying.[10] 22 Commonwealth airmen (mostly Canadian and Australian), and approximately 110 civilians were killed.[11] The hotel was demolished in 1955.[12]

Across Bournemouth Town Centre twenty-two buildings were destroyed and 3,354 were damaged.[13]

Legacy

The Bournemouth Metropole memorial in Lansdowne.

In 2013, a memorial was unveiled on the 70th anniversary of the last air raid.[14][15]

References

  1. ^ "BBC - WW2 People's War - Bombs on Bournemouth". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Bomb site air raid memorial unveiled". BBC News. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  3. ^ Sean O'Connor (27 February 2014). Handsome Brute: The True Story of a Ladykiller. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4711-0135-9.
  4. ^ "The day I saw bombs being dropped on the Bourne Valley Gas Works". Bournemouth Echo. 4 April 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Research into 1941 gasworks bombing". Bournemouth Echo. 12 January 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  6. ^ "33 killed at lunch: Poole's worst World War II bombing". Bournemouth Echo. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Bournemouth 1943 air raid remembered". BBC News. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  8. ^ "130 died in five minutes: The 1943 air raid that destroyed the Metropole and Central Hotels and Beales". Bournemouth Echo. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  9. ^ "£4.5m church set to make way for hotel". Bournemouth Echo. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Bomb site air raid memorial unveiled". BBC News. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  11. ^ "Air Raid on Bournemouth - May 23, 1943". www.wartimeheritage.com. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Picture of the Day: The demolition of the Metropole Hotel". Bournemouth Echo. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  13. ^ "When the bombs fell". Bournemouth Echo. May 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  14. ^ "Bournemouth Metropole Hotel Bombing Victims". www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  15. ^ "Bournemouth WWII bombing memorial to be unveiled". BBC News. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2022.