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The Blitz - 14th November 1940

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Prof
Gloucester
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346 of 362  Fri 16th Nov 2018 3:55pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1090

Just watched YouTube 'Coventry Blitz in colour 1940'. Well worth a look! Hope this link will work. Edited by member, 16th Nov 2018 3:59 pm
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Prof
Gloucester
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347 of 362  Tue 28th May 2019 9:09am  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1090

A very poignant photo for Coventrians.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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348 of 362  Tue 28th May 2019 3:33pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

Prof, I have the very same photo taken by the CET, believe this one is the Lady Chapel, but the link was brill.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Prof
Gloucester
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349 of 362  Tue 28th May 2019 6:30pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1090

Well Kaga, it is actually the Sanctuary but the Lady Chapel is on the left of photo. I think I am right.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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350 of 362  Wed 29th May 2019 12:45pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

Thanks Prof. Whatever, that night sure tore the heart out of it and the heart of a lot of people. Even in daylight for some weeks there was a dark and evil cloud about the ruins. Centuries of history alighting on the floor, then vanishing. For years I tried to fit my mind around it without success.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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351 of 362  Wed 7th Aug 2019 9:29am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

But the blitz held many stories. An old man was dug out of a shelter and people were deeply concerned about him, they took him to C and W Hospital but he would not let go of his birdcage. A nurse took the cage off him, dusted the top. The bird was huddled on the floor of the cage apparently dead, but the nurse, obviously a pet lover, revived it with warm milk with a drop of brandy. The effect on the old man was miraculous, he at once became revived also, despite his shock - only the welfare of his only friend was important.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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352 of 362  Tue 8th Oct 2019 2:19pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:420

I have just purchased and read a book entitled "The Secret History of the Blitz" by Joshua Levine. It mentions Coventry periodically throughout, but has a chapter dedicated to the city, entitled "The Klondyke of the Midlands", pertaining to the influx of workers from many towns and cities throughout the UK including RoI, the population having grown from 90,000 in 1931 to 250,000 in 1940. The chapter primarily concerns the November Blitz, but also references the IRA bomb of 25th August 1939 and The 'Rex' being bombed a year to the day after and other raids. Albeit I have read 'Moonlight Sonata' there are anecdotes which I was unaware of. Obviously for copyright reasons I cannot narrate exactly, it mentions that a surface shelter in Silver Street suffered a collapsed roof, trapping a number of people. Another shelter on Greyfriars Green had 12 trapped who were communicating with rescuers, however two UXB's were located nearby so the rescue had to be temporarily abandoned. When they had been defused some three days later, only one survivor was found. On a darker note are reflections of the level of crime. Apparently all manner of thieves were committing all manner of offences, from rescue workers, soldiers & labourers. One person received a three month sentence with hard labour for stealing a Georgian church register from the Cathedral ruins! An Irish labourer was convicted of looting bottles of beer from a premises on Windsor Street (looting could be punishable by death!) There are many uplifting memories as well, including Pearl Hyde's famous "Devil's Kitchen" operating out of an underground room at the Central Police Station. Many 'High Society' volunteers helped, including Lady Mary Lygon and the Duchess of Marlborough! Apparently JB Shelton, a local draying contractor, was also an amateur archaeologist who found Roman artefacts/coins unearthed by the bombing. He was the only person apparently allowed to search ruins etc. without fear of arrest for looting! Finally, another anecdote in the book is the story of the caged bird that Kaga referred to previously, in fact it was Hull not Coventry unfortunately. A good book which I encourage you to get from the Library.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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353 of 362  Wed 9th Oct 2019 10:00am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

Wearethemods. Hi. No doubt all copied from the Cov Evening Telegraph. The word Klondyke is a new one for Coventry, the only time I knew it to be used in Cov was early thirties when the film 'Gold Rush' came to the cinemas. The story of the stealing of a church register from the cathedral sounds dubious, everything that could be carried from the cathedral Rev Howard said had been taken out during the blitz. As for the caged bird in Hull, I wouldn't doubt it happened in a good many towns as caged birds were more popular in those days, but he could have got the towns muddled. I had one in a cage, won in a raffle. I wanted to let it free, Dad wouldn't let me, neither would he let me take it down the shelter as we had a one year old baby with us. If your local historian gets things muddled, so much more do outsiders. Hull did take a hammering, I believe it was above Coventry on the list of bombing, Cov was about 7th. Off the record, Gordon Richards, champion jockey, looked after the war dept (M15/6) pigeons during the war, receiving and sending secrets.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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354 of 362  Wed 9th Oct 2019 12:00pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:420

Hi Kaga, you wrote : "The story of the stealing of a church register from the cathedral sounds dubious, everything that could be carried from the cathedral Rev Howard said had been taken out during the blitz." In fact what I didn't mention, but the book does, is the culprit’s name - Edward Crich, 28 years old, engineer. The author refers to his sources as "The Midland Daily Telegraph" 19th & 22nd November 1940 Also, Les James, a teenage member of the 'Cyclist Messenger Service Corps' in Hull escorted the elderly gentleman whose shelter had been hit and who carried the birdcage to the hospital. Les's testimony is to be found in the IWM Sound Archive No.15226. So I trust this clarifies as to the accuracy and plausibility. Edited by member, 9th Oct 2019 12:15 pm
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Midland Red
Cherwell
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355 of 362  Wed 9th Oct 2019 1:21pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5385

A newspaper states that Crich, of Loughborough, was sentenced to three months hard labour “on a charge of looting from the ruins of Coventry Cathedral on November 16 a church register for the year 1760”
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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356 of 362  Wed 9th Oct 2019 2:06pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

Wearethemods, Yes, like I said, there were thousands of pets killed, including birds in all towns. I have no idea if the one I talked of got reported, as it was hearsay in Foleshill. Midland Red, The Telegraph did report, Rev RT Howard stated, we next set about saving some of the valuable ornaments - The Warwickshire colours, the altar service book, the books of the Epistles and Gospels. These were taken across to the police station. George Day, special constable, saw Provost Howard coming out of the cathedral with some things under his arm. "I asked if there was anything more to bring out", and he replied, "No, it's all gone, my boy". That's where my doubt came from about there being a register left behind.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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357 of 362  Wed 9th Oct 2019 7:12pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:420

Hi Kaga, the report you posted is actually word for word the narrative given to the IWM by Les some twenty years ago (sound recorded)!
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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358 of 362  Thu 10th Oct 2019 2:38pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

Wearethemods, Oh god the number of times I heard that word 'almost' when I was gambling. I have ordered the book on your recommendation, I hope it's as good as you say. I think I may have discussed this book with a Coventry kid a few years ago - I will know when I read it. You sounded a little surprised at some of the things you read - well it all went on and a great lot more that can't be explained. Who can explain the emotions when a doodlebug goes overhead, or a terrorist bomb explodes near you - only in this old age do I look back and ask myself, did that really happen, or was that me, and even I must have been stupid? Yes, it did happen, a long long time ago.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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359 of 362  Thu 10th Oct 2019 5:19pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:420

Hi Kaga, it's actually a brand new book l bought at the airport a couple of weeks ago, so it's not one you thought you discussed a few years back! Thumbs up
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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360 of 362  Sat 12th Oct 2019 1:23pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

Wearethemods, the book is five years old. Just over three years ago I went to hospital with a small stroke. Nurse asked my accent, “Coventry” I replied. Patient in bed close by, "Hey I'm reading a book on Coventry”. I borrowed it, read the book, many of its stories fitted in with my past, so I remembered and wrote them on this forum. If the book could describe the scene better than I, then yes I am guilty of a few words. Now, the book talks a lot of Mass Observation. Everything about them is here in Brighton - Google ‘the keep Brighton’. Nellie Last wrote for Mass Obs, is in the library, also 'The view from the corner shop', wartime shopkeeper. My father was told, “Bombs have fallen on Grange Road, see what you can do.” He found he was digging his friend, A Lote, out of the rubble. When they got him out all he asked for was his caged bird. My father then was called to a second house in Aldermans Green Road, and this was relatives, it was a very tough time. Now Heathite's directory tells me that A Lote disappears from it in 1940? In the book, a picture of a glider pilot - I wrote a post from that, part my own experience and part told to me. All the basic stories in the book are part of my life between 1930 to 1950, both in Coventry and London.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940

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