Kenilworth survivors add their stories to history

Eileen Norcliffe survived the bombing in Abbey End in 1940 and has told her story. NNL-150109-210708009
Eileen Norcliffe survived the bombing in Abbey End in 1940 and has told her story. NNL-150109-210708009
0
Have your say

Another Kenilworth bomb survivor has spoken of her memories ahead of a town memorial to mark lives lost when Abbey End was hit by a landmine 75 years ago.

On Thursday November 21, 1940 a bomb was dropped in Abbey End, killing 26 people and flattening the Globe Hotel which offered refuge for families from Coventry.

Abbey End

Abbey End

Eileen Norcliffe, who was among those sheltering in the town from persistent attacks on the city, said she was lucky not to be caught up in the bombing raid.

Mrs Norcliffe and her parents survived the attack and she will be joining others to mark 75 years since the devastation at a town memorial in November.

Now aged 91, the widow has added her tale to others sent in to the KWN in hope of making sure the importance of the day is remembered.

She was 16 years old when they went to stay in her aunt’s hotel next to the parochial hall in High Street during the war.

The truth of what occurred that night was never known and never will be.

Eileen Norcliffe

She said: “Coventry was so dangerous, there were a lot of us sheltering in Kenilworth.

“We were not at the Globe luckily, it was just a tragic day.

“There was such shock in the town after it happened, it is good that it will be remembered this year. But nothing will change my mind that it was not intended.”

Mrs Norcliffe, who moved back to Coventry with her parents after the war, moved to Kenilworth after marrying her late-husband, Donald.

Abbey End war memorial

Abbey End war memorial

She now lives in John Nash Square and said while remembering is important, it is sad that there may never be a reason for the loss of lives.

“Sirens sounded in Coventry and Kenilworth warning that an air raid was imminent,” she said.

“The truth of what occurred that night was never known and never will be. It was assumed that the pilot mistook Kenilworth for Coventry but this is highly unlikely as situated in the city centre are three church spires.

“How they remained intact after six years of war is a miracle. However, they proved to be an excellent landmark for enemy planes.

“What we know definitely is the enemy pilots headed for home with bombs still on board, yet lightened the load anywhere irrespective to the loss of life. It was a war on civilians. Many good living families suffered loss and bereavement.”

A memorial event is being planned for 2pm on November 21 to mark 75 years since the devastating explosion.

Mayor Michael Coker will lay a wreath in a service being planned by Kenilworth Town Council, and descendants and relatives are invited to join the day. Contact the council clerk on 01926 859155 for details.