News

Sanctus holds Memorial on their Roseberry Road Site

May 9, 2017

Sanctus are currently working on a former steam and diesel lorry yard on Roseberry Road, Bath, during the Bath Blitz on April 25th to 27th of 1942, the German Luftwaffee carried out three air raids on the city of Bath.

The story of the site was recounted by Chris Kilminster (Blitz Historian):

“A total of 168 sorties were flown from airfields in occupied Normandy. At approximately 0500 hrs on Sunday 26th April 1942, a 500kg (1080 lbs) high explosive bomb scored a direct hit on the public surface air raid shelter. In this shelter there was believed to be 38 residents of Roseberry Road seeking refuge. Of these 38, 35 men, women and children were killed, including my little sister Mary aged 7. In total, 80% of my family were also lost in the explosion. My mother was badly injured by shrapnel. My other sister, Shirley, aged 4 at the time, was remarkably blown from the shelter. She was found wandering amongst the rubble some time later. She is still alive today and lives in Weymouth. She still remembers seeing people lying around amongst the rubble. She says that at the time she thought they were all asleep. The area was cordoned off by the military for around four days to remove the remaining bodies and body parts. It was believed that the bombers targets that day was either the nearby Somerset and Dorset railway line or the gas works.
A total of 417 souls perished in the Bath Blitz, 56 of which were children under 12 years old.”

Those who died in the Roseberry Road blast:

Ivy Joyce 24
Alfred Goddard 63
Morwenda Wright 9
Margaret Goddard 32
William Wright 50
Edward Lewis 41
Lily Lewis 34
Mary Derrick 79
Mary Kilminster 7
Leonard Kilminster 20
Walter Kilminster 34
Annie Dean 66
Janet Smith 16 months
Lilian Smith 2
Margaret Smith 14
Ruby Smith 39
William Long 43
James Arkle 36
Emily Hardick 67
Hubert Hardick unknown
John O’Shea 19
Albert Hancock 64
Rita Hancock 12
Kathleen Hancock 20
Wilcox Gertrude 58
William Harris 56
Dora Yles 34

Tuesday 25th April 2017 was the anniversary of the eve of the bomb strike. Sanctus Project Manager, Steve McNally, arranged, along with Ross Chester of Chelverton Deeley Freed, to invite Mr Kilminster (Bath Blitz Historian and surviving member of the Kilminster family mentioned above) with his wife, son and daughter in law, to come to the site so that we could show our respect for those that perished.

Works stopped at 1255hrs and the team on site (17 men) gathered in the welfare compound, on the spot where the bomb struck. Mr Kilminster recounted the story with the obvious personal viewpoint he has.

A minutes silence was observed by all.

Lunch was supplied by CDF and the site team spent a few minutes chatting with Mr Kilminsters and his family.

As a team and with the assistance of the Archeology and EOD watching brief, we are committed to treating the works in such a sensitive area with the respect it deserves. Small finds of pots, bottles, tiles and pictures have already been passed on to Mr Kilminster. Significantly a number of green ceramic tiles were found and Mr Kilminster had told us that his mother’s kitchen had such tiles.

The final find to date and perhaps most moving, was that of a large fragment of the 1000 lb German bomb that hit the shelter. This was discovered in the area of the old shelter. EOD have confirmed it’s shape and thickness as being from this sort of weapon so it is obvious to assume that this was from the weapon that struck the shelter. The above photo shows Steve and Ross handing the fragment to Mr Kilminster for use in his future briefings about the Bath Blitz.