Remembering the victims 75 years after Kenilworth bombing

Abbey End
Abbey End

Relatives and families of those killed when Abbey End was badly damaged by a landmine are invited to help commemorate the devastating day on its 75th anniversary.

A memorial event is being planned for 2pm on November 21 to mark 75 years since the devastating explosion which killed 26 people.

There are survivors of the explosion still living in the town, there are relatives of those who died still among us, and more who remember it

Robin Leach

Kenilworth Town Council is setting out plans for town mayor Michael Coker to lay a wreath in memory of the lives lost, with descendants, relatives and residents all invited to join the afternoon.

Abbey End was partly destroyed when landmines fell at 2am on November 21 1940.

The first fell in a field leaving a crater and windows blown out in the nearest houses in Chestnut Avenue and St Nicholas Avenue.

Within seconds a second landmine fell on Abbey End, partially flattening the Globe Hotel and homes. The Square was also severely damaged.

Town historian, Robin Leach, has long campaigned to have the lives of those killed marked and is working with Cllr Coker to make sure the day is not forgotten on its anniversary. He said: “It has always disappointed me that the anniversary is never officially recognised, even by the simple laying of a floral tribute at the memorial at Abbey End.

“There are survivors of the explosion still living in the town, there are relatives of those who died still among us, and more who remember it, but their numbers are falling; whilst there are still some alive who would greatly appreciate official recognition of their loss.”

A memorial plaque was made by the former Kenilworth Urban District Council in 1950, displaying the names of those killed –eight town residents, 16 refugees from Coventry and two unknown casualties – but is in the cemetery. Kenilworth in Bloom was asked to make a floral tribute and the council is asking relatives of those killed to contact them.