Bombing Records

Official records seem to have been kept in different forms but many have not survived. The Surrey County Council Special War Executive report would have given a general overview of Surrey together with statistics. Some individual boroughs produced lists and annotated maps for their own use. An example of this is reproduced in David Rose’s book ‘Guildford: the war years’.

Original Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Incident Books list bomb incidents. The ARP Incident Book for Hambledon RDC is held at the Surrey History Centre and Godalming Museum has other ARP books. Surrey History Centre also holds War Damage Assessment Maps for Guildford RDC, Woking UDC, Hambledon RDC and Leatherhead UDC. Individual boroughs hold all other maps and reports in existence. Further sources for bomb damage are police and home guard records. These sources are often not catalogued and their existence may only be revealed by local enquiry, their continued existence often only being by chance. The amount of detail is variable. Grid references were not required so the listing of just a street or property will give no idea of the point of impact. Another problem is that there has often been considerable post-war development, names have changed and open country built over. It can be quite difficult to identify the original bombsite.

Bomb damage at County Hall (SHC Ref. 4272/1)

Bomb damage at County Hall (SHC Ref. 4272/1)

The magnitude of a bomb can be useful when looking at the possible extent of damage. One unexploded bomb will have little impact but four High Explosive bombs on a residential area of Guildford damaged 370 houses. Most bombs caused relatively little damage or loss of life considering their power. One of the worst being the bombing of the Vickers factory at Brooklands where 87 were killed and 419 injured. This was more than the total for all of the neighbouring 11 council areas for the whole war.

Bomb damage records often include details of plane crashes, as a crashed plane, whether carrying bombs or not, would cause similar damage to bombs.

8 thoughts on “Bombing Records”

  1. peter reilly says:

    on the 23rd of february 1944.three of my mothers sisters children were killed by enemy action i believe in a bombing raid in weybridge surrey they are buried in st marys church in church street walton.there names were beryl lillian born 23rd of february 1940,vera born 19th of june 1941,jean born 24th of november 1942 children of mr,and mrs johnson.i have tried to find out information about about this incident locally and on the internet but have had no success.i was wondering if anyone could have any information about this tragic raid

  2. peter reilly says:

    i would be very grateful if anyone could provide me with any information.

    1. Anne says:

      This bombing raid is being discussed on the Walton on Thames and Hersham Facebook page. There is somebody who remembers your family and the children being killed. Although, she was only six at the time so her memory is limited.

    2. Paul says:

      Your family were probably killed in a German counter attack plan called Operation Steinbock. Also known as the Baby Blitz, it was a retaliation for the day and night bombing of the German cities that ramped up at the end of 1943.

      I suspect that your family were killed in the raid on the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company research Centre in Shepperton. This was a high value target for the Germans as it was key to the development of more efficient aviation fuel and was attacked on the night of 22-23rd Feb 1944.

    3. Tracey says:

      Hello, I found these details from their entries on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website:
      They were the daughters of Harry and Phyllis Gertrude Johnson. They died at 2 Old Palace Road.

    4. Frank Phillipson says:

      Regional Civil Defence Commissioner’s Summary No.732 (Situation Report) 25th Feb.’44
      23rd Feb. At 00:41hrs 2 HE (High Explosive Bombs) at Weybridge.
      Cas: 9 killed and 1 slightly injured. 2 houses demolished, 7 seriously damaged
      and 30 slightly damaged.

      I doubt very much that a raid was targeted at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company research Centre in Shepperton. It was common for people at the time and also those looking into wartime bombing incidents today, to treat any bombs that fell near where they believe might have been a target, to have been the planned aim of that attack. In actual fact most of these bombs were randomly released in a general area and some just happened to land in the vicinity of what might be a potential target.

    5. Frank Phillipson says:

      “One bomb fell on a housing estate, demolishing two houses. There were six occupants of each house, and all those in one house lost their lives”. “In the second house, which was occupied by Mr H Johnson, an air raid warden, his wife and four children, three of the children lost their lives and other was rescued from the ruins and taken to hospital. Mr Johnson himself was trapped in the wreckage but was quickly rescued by the rescue party and escaped injury”. Surrey Advertiser, Sat. 26th Feb.1944.

  3. eleanor pauline cole says:

    I know that victims from the bomb dropped on Vickers Aircraft (British Aerospace) were taken to Mount Felix and laid out for identification in the ballroom. I Iived there and was only a very young child at the time. Eleanor.

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