Swanage Air Raids

Swanage was subjected to 929 air raid alerts by the 21 January 1944, due to the positioning of the radar beam, huge amounts of bombers destined for Bristol, Bath and the northern cities, for example Manchester Coventry and Liverpool, passed over the town, some of these raids consisted of over a 1000 bombers. Local people laid in their beds and listened to the loud drown of the aircraft passing overhead, to the bombing destination and later their return journey to France. In Swanage, between 1942 and 1943 there were six air raids resulting in 20 deaths and many life threatening injuries, this was miniscule compared to Poole, with their undertaking of organising and constructing the invasion fleet.

In 1942, there were five air raids carried out by light bombers such as the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter. The first one was on the 20 April, where houses in Cornwall Road were damaged killing five people and injuring 21 people. The next event was on 13 July, where houses in Park Road were damaged resulting in three causalities. The next event was on 14 May, where a bomb landed north of the town hall seriously damaging John Wesley’s cottage. The next event was on the 17August, a direct hit on the Westminster Bank in Institute Road, the manager and his wife were killed, the second bomb landed on Chapel Lane and destroyed a large section of the Narrows killing 8 and injuring 39, this section of bomb damaged land is now the lawn outside of the Day Care building. The next event was on the 23 August, where a building, next to the White Swan, known as Swanage Dairies, was destroyed and five people were killed with nine casualties. In 1943, on the 3 February a bomb fell on the old churchyard that seriously damaged cottages in Church Hill and the roof of the parish church. 5 4