One hundred years ago, Britain was at war with Germany.  It had been declared in 1914, and it was brutal.  Thousands upon thousands of British soldiers and their allies were fighting on foot at the Western Front, taking shelter in the trenches they had dug, amid the mud, vermin, gas and bullets.  Likewise the battle was ongoing by sea and increasingly by air.  Bombs had been dropped as close as Dover, and in many other parts of the country, and on October 13th 1915 a Zeppelin made a detour from its intended target of London, and along with other places in Kent, dropped bombs on the Canadian Camp at Otterpool, near Lympne, killing fifteen men and fifteen horses, wounding 21 men and three horses.
German ZeppelinL 13 Courtesy Imperial War Museum © IWM,Q 58456
This page is dedicated to the men, women and children who lost their lives in the Tontine Street Air Raid.  Unless otherwise stated, the photographs and documents you will see are from the collection and courtesy of Mr. Bill Westall, and copyright belongs to him.  I would also like to thank Danny Featherbe and Donna Dryland for making them available to me, and Mark Hourahane for the hours he spent scanning and cleaning everything and sending it all to me in Canada.
As fearsome as the Zeppelins had been, anti-aircraft guns were improved and they were soon less of a threat.  However, Britain couldn't relax for long, because very shortly the Gotha bomber came along
Before we jump ahead too far though, I want to drop back in history to 1878, which was peacetime.  The German Ironclad turret- ship, Grosser Kurfürst (the 'Great Elector'. meaning the Brandenburg Prince who was the founder of the kingdom of Prussia) was sunk off Folkestone by collision with a ship of the same squadron, the König Wilhelm.  Two hundred and eighty four of her men were drowned, or perhaps some of them were scalded to death, as her steam-boilers seem to have burst while she sank, which took place within about nine minutes.

The Folkestone fishing-boats, especially the Emily Richard, which picked up twenty-seven men, were instrumental in the rescue of many survivors, to the number altogether of eighty-five.  They also recovered as many bodies as possible, and they were interred in the Cheriton Road cemetery.  Many people of Folkestone attended the services, the first few of which were given full military honours, however, it wasn't practical to do this with over a hundred to bury, so the remainder were laid to rest more quietly.  These funerals and caskets were all taken care of by the people of Folkestone, and a large monument was erected in their memory which still stands today.   Emperor William 1 showed his deep gratitude by presenting a beautiful Bible to Canon Woodward, who conducted the services, and presented gold watches (suitably inscribed) and other presents to those who had rendered service to the living and respect to the dead.

It was because of this incident that the people of Folkestone tended to think they were being missed in the conflict out of gratitude.  But on that fateful day, May 25th, 1917 they were taken completely by surprise.
If you would like to know more about this incident, and see more pictures, you can read the Illustrated London News account of it HERE:
It was almost six o'clock in the evening on that warm and sunny Friday, May 25th 1917.  Monday was going to be the Whitsun Bank Holiday, and although late in the day, Tontine Street was very busy with wives stocking up on provisions for the long weekend.  There was a long queue at Stokes Greengrocers as a new shipment of potatoes had arrived, and the women were chatting to each other, as their children played together nearby.

They could hear a series of crashes in the distance, but as there were several army camps in the vicinity, they dismissed it as gun practice.  A plane circled overhead, but again, nobody was alarmed, as they thought it was a British plane.  Suddenly, the Gotha bombers swooped down on Folkestone, and began dropping their high explosive bombs.  They approached from the west, some attacked Hythe and Shorncliffe Camp, others the west end of Folkestone, near the Central Station and Bouverie Road East.  Then they headed where they could see the most civilians, mostly women and children, which was outside Stokes in Tontine Street, although some argued they were actually aiming for the harbour.   It was a direct hit to the front of the shop, and 60 people were instantly killed, many blown completely into pieces.  Over a hundred people had devastating injuries, many of whom died later.

Calls went out for help, and very quickly the Red Cross, the Fire Brigade, Ambulance Corps and Police were on the scene.  Also the Canadian Army Medical Corps, stationed at Shorncliffe Camp, and the Special Police were brought in to help with the removal of the dead, and to rescue the injured.

The Royal Victoria Hospital was overloaded with the injured, and their mortuary was filled with the dead.  They also had to use the military hospitals at West Cliff and Shorncliffe for the injured.

Total killed in Folkestone that day was 74 - 15 men, 30 women and 29 children.  The total number injured was 96, but this is a minimum number, as many with minor injuries did not attend hospital, and were not counted.

Bombs were also dropped outside Folkestone, as you can see by the map at the top of the page.  19 at Lympne, 19 at Hythe, 2 at Sandgate, 16 at Cheriton and 18 at the military camps at Shorncliffe, St. Martin's Plain and Dibgate.

Twenty two soldiers were killed at Shorncliffe, eighteen of which were Canadian.  Also out of the 96 wounded there, 86 were also Canadian.

The people of Folkestone were in total shock, considering Dover had been air raided eighteen times, with 190 bombs dropped, with a death toll of only 22.

Thirty seven aircraft belonging to both the RNAS and RFC took to the air after the raid and chased the Gothas, but they were not capable of reaching the same height as the German planes.


I think this photograph was taken after Stokes finished trading, and had leased the premises to another Greengrocer.  The Hastings & Folkestone Glassworks used to be next door, and went across the little road in the photograph above.  Mr. James Stanners, owner, had a new factory built immediately behind in Mill Bay, around 1960.  This building is now owned by the Creative Foundation, and is being used as the 6th Form College.  The site of Stokes first became a beer garden for the Brewery Tap next door, but it too was bought up by the Creative Foundation, and in 2014 it was turned into a Memorial Garden by Amina Menia as part of a Triennial art project.  This year, on the 100th Anniversary of the Great Tontine Street Air Raid, they have plans to build a Triennial visitor centre on the site.
After the bodies had been removed, and the injured had been taken to hospital, work started immediately on clearing away the rubble, and starting on the rebuild.  Margaret Care, Great-Granddaughter of Frederick Stokes, who died fifteen months after the raid, having never recovered from his injuries, said her Grandfather used to tell them that his father and uncles were extremely proud of the fact that "they didn't keep us down for long"    The Greengrocers, and Gosnolds opposite were rebuilt and trading within a month, which was no mean feat considering all the young fit men were away at war.  Apparently the customers came flocking back, including the families of the killed and injured, determined to show they would not be beaten.

Frederick's brother William and nephew Arthur died at the scene on that fateful day.
On the left, Gosnold Bros. Drapers, right after the raid.  On the right, many years later, showing how it was rebuilt to match exactly as before.
After the inquest into the massacre, new anti-aircraft guns were installed at Westenhanger, Cherry Garden Avenue and Earls Avenue.  They also installed warning sirens and search lights, and provided dug-outs and shelters. Many of the private schools closed for the duration of the war, and some people moved out of Folkestone altogether.  Although they were now better prepared, Folkestone did not suffer another raid like the one on May 25th 1917.

Folkestone Borough Coroner Mr. G. W. Haines is quoted as saying in 1925 :

                                "After a lapse of over seven years we are ringing down the curtain on our wounds and sorrows.  May those who were spared not be unmindful."


Which moves me to say: 

                                "After a lapse of one hundred years, may those whose ancestors were spared not be unmindful as well."
Where Stokes Greengrocers had stood

Some were buried in unmarked graves, others have since lost their headstone, possibly due to damage and removal.
The funeral of Sarah Jane Dicker and her daughter, Edith Agnes, age 13.  Cannon Tindall is walking in front.
Funeral of Hilda Elizabeth Burvill, age 20
Another photo of the funeral of Hilda Elizabeth Burvill.  A detachment of soldiers from the West cliff Hospital led by Sgt. Major Shering attended out of sympathy
The burial of Phyllis Amies Cooper, age 9.  Daughter of Mr. A. W. Cooper of 3 Warwick Terrace, Morrison Rd.
This wonderful photo of Stokes Greengrocers before the bomb hit belongs to Les Haigh who has a website on the Stokes Brothers, and has given me permission to use it here.  If you click on the photo, it will take you to her website, where the story of the air raid is covered in more detail, and also you can see the Stokes family tree.
Surname
First Names
Age
Address
Where
Date Died
Cemetery
1. Arnold
May Alexandra
21
19 Bouverie Rd East
Bouverie Rd East
25th May 1917
Shorncliffe
2. Banks
Harold Hayward
25
20 Victoria Grove
Bouverie Rd East
26th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
3. Barker
Eliza Mary
34
29 Bradstone Avenue
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
4. Bartleet
Maggie Gray
24
27 Connaught Road
Jointon Road
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
5. Beer
Annie (Rosie)
2
90 Blackbull Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
6. Beer
Annie
30
90 Blackbull Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
7. Beer
William James
9
67 Bridge Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
8. Beer
Arthur Stephen
11
67 Bridge Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
9. Bowbrick
Mabel Esther
9
81 Ashley Ave, Cheriton
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
10. Bowbrick
Gertrude Elizabeth
12
81 Ashley Ave, Cheriton
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
11. Bowbrick
Lily (Nellie)
55
81 Ashley Ave, Cheriton
Tontine Street
25th Mar 1925
St. Martin's
12. Brockway
Sydney
63
17 Peter Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
13. Burgin
Dorothy Lilian
16
21 Oakes Rd, Cheriton
Oakes Road
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
14. Burke
John
49
29 St Winifred Road
Bouverie Rd East
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
15. Burvill
Hilda Elizabeth
20
Hope Cott, Blackbull Rd
Tontine Street
26th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
16. Butcher
George Edward
44
27 Alexander Street
Foord Road
5th Jun 1917
Cheriton Rd
17. Cason
Mary
46
24 Royal Military Avenue
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Not found
18. Castle
Albert Edward
41
27 Wear Bay Crescent
Shorncliffe Road
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
19. Chapman
Kathleen
16
Chilham Lees
Bouverie Rd East
29th May 1917
Not Found
20. Clark
William
12
24 Mead Road
Tontine Street
28th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
21. Considine
Francis Henry
5
27 Oaks Road
Oakes Road
25th May 1917
Shorncliffe
22. Cooper
Phyllis Aimes
9
3 Warwick Terrace
Tontine Street
26th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
23. Daniels
Albert Dennis
12
Coombe Farm, Hawkinge
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Hawkinge
24. Day
Frederick Charles
47
3 Linden Crescent
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
25. Dicker
Edith Agnes
13
13 Richmond Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
26. Dicker
Sarah Jane
41
13 Richmond Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
27. Down
Alfred Durrett
54
52 Royal Military Avenue
Royal Military Ave
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
28. Dukes
Florence Edith
18
Horn Street, Cheriton
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
29. Dukes
Florence Elizabeth
51
Horn Street, Cheriton
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
30. Eales
Ethel May
17
27 Dudley Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
31. Feist
Stanley Albert
5
Coombe Farm, Hawkinge
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Hawkinge
32. Feist
Nellie
50
Coombe Farm, Hawkinge
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Hawkinge
33. Francis
Florence
33
46 Foord Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
34. Gould
Edward Stephen
39
Pavilion Stables, Tram Rd
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
35. Graves
Richard Ashby
40
Pavilion Stables, Tram Rd
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
36. Grimes
Edith Mary
24
14 Tontine Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
37. Hall
William Henry
64
68 Tontine Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
38. Hambly
Johanna Mary
67
32 Radnor Park Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
39. Hambrook
Ethel
12
1 Invicta Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
40. Harris
Caroline
35
144 Cheriton High Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
41. Harrison
Fanny
39
15 Bournemouth Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
42. Hayes
Dennis William
2
25 East Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
43. Hayes
Martha Godden
30
25 East Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
44, Hayward
Louisa Alice
37
38 Thanet Gardens
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
45. Hickman
Arthur David
6
93 Royal Military Avenue
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Shorncliffe
46. Holloway
Veronica Mary
1
13 Burrow Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
47. Holloway
Mary Philomina
9
13 Burrows Avenue
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
48. Horn
Edward James
45
8 Radnor Cliff
Cheriton Road
25th May 1917
Waltham
49. Hughes
Rosina Caroline
34
46 Foord Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
50. Jackman
Dorothy Bertha
14
12 Connaught Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
51. Laxton
Katherine Euphemia
72
19 East Cliff Gardens
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
52. Lee
William
46
New Eltham
Tontine Street
30th May 1917
New Eltham
53. Lyth
Daniel Stringer
54
Hythe
Hythe
25th May 1917
Saltwood
54. Marshment
Jennie
50
21 Manor Road
21 Manor Road
25th May 1917
Canterbury
55. Maxted
Elizabeth
31
5 Grove Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
56. McDonald
AlbertWilliam Charles
12
30 Stuart Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
57. McDonald
Agnes Curren
22
12 Connaught Road
Tontine Street
2nd Jun 1917
Cheriton Rd
58. McGuire
Ernest Henry
6
15 Linden Crescent
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
59. Moss
Walter George
0
204 Cheriton High St
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
60. Moss
Jane Charlotte May
20
204 Cheriton High St
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
St. Martin's
61. Norris
William Alfred
1
30 Blackbull Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
62. Norris
Florence Kathleen
2
30 Blackbull Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
63. Norris
Florence Louise
24
30 Blackbull Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
64. Parker
Amy Gertrude
42
50 Ormonde Road, Hythe
Hythe
25th May 1917
Bexleyheath
65. Reed
Mabel
12
32 Mead Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
66. Robinson
John Walter Francis
5
64 St. Michaels Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
67. Rumsey
Florence
17
29 Blackbull Road
Tontine Street
27th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
68. Snauwaert
Marie
44
7 Copthall Gardens
Tontine Street
26th Jun 1917
Cheriton Rd
69. Sparkes
Gladys Alice
18
Ashford
Ashford
25th May 1917
Ashford
70. Stokes
Arthur Ernest
14
33a Harvey Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
71. Stokes
William Henry
46
33a Harvey Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
72. Stokes
Frederick Charles
44
12 St. Johns Church Rd
Tontine Street
11th Oct 1918
Cheriton Rd
73. Terry
Gwendoline Edith
13
12 Connaught Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
74. Vane
Alfred
35
8 Bradstone New Road
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Brabourne
75. Walton
Doris Eileen Spencer
16
The Mount, Julian Road
Shorncliffe Road
26th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
76. Waugh
Elizabeth Charlotte
48
26 North Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
77. Wilson
Isabella
80
11 East Street
Tontine Street
25th May 1917
Cheriton Rd
Harold Hayward Banks
Eliza Mary Barker
Annie Beer
Annie (Rosie) Beer
Hilda Elizabeth Burvill
Albert Edward Castle
Kathleen Chapman
Willie Clark
Sidney Cloak
    Injured
Ethel May Eales
Florence Francis
Richard Ashby Graves
William Henry Hall
Ethel Hambrook
Martha Godden Hayes
Dennis William Hayes
Rosina Caroline
     Hughes
Dorothy Bertha
     Jackman
Elizabeth Maxted
William Charles
     McDonald
Ernest Henry McGuire
Florence Louise Norris
Florence Rumsey
Arthur Ernest Stokes
Frederick Charles
         Stokes
William Henry Stokes
          Possibly
   Francis Considine
               or
      John Robinson
       Unconfirmed
It is with thanks to Margaret Care and her sister, Sarah Fox, Great-Granddaughters of Frederick Charles Stokes.

Margaret and Sarah have spent four years doing extensive research on the victims, and have tracked down the resting places of almost all of them.  Along with Martin Easdown, they are organising a Memorial Service to all those killed and injured in the Raid on 25th May 2017 at 5.00pm in The Methodist Church, Sandgate Road, Folkestone. It is a Service to remember the largest single incident of Civilian Casualties outside London in WW1.  After the service, a plaque will be unveiled in The Christchurch Memorial Gardens.  Full details of which, plus a map can be found HERE

Every year since the tragedy, a member of the Stokes family have left flowers at the site where so many people lost their lives.  In the last few years, it has been Margaret.

Family business Stokes Brothers was started in 1898 by William and George Stokes who ran Tontine Street, and Robert and Benjamin Stokes who ran the shop in Bouverie Rd West.   Frederick was a telegrapher and John a Blacksmith at this time.   In 1906 John gave up his blacksmith work and bought the mineral water company in Dover Street (Harbour Way) in conjunction with William and converted it to a Coalstore.  William and  George then bought the coal lugger "The Luz"    In 1907 all partnerships joined forces to form Stokes Bros. Ltd. and Frederick joined the board of directors.

The shop in Tontine Street was destroyed in an Air Raid on 25th May 1917 when sadly both William Henry Stokes and his 14 year old son Arthur Ernest were killed and Frederick Charles Stokes was seriously injured and didn't recover. The shop was rebuilt after the raid and continued to operate under the Stokes name until 1979, at which time it was being operated by Charles, son of Frederick and William Care, his son-in-law.   In 1979 the premises were let, first to William's brother Charles Care until 1981, then to Bill Lane, who had it until 1985 when the building was destroyed by fire and it never reopened.  William Stokes is seen in this photograph in the centre, with George to his right.  We are assuming the ladies are either wives or shop assistants.
Margaret Care's dog Clemmie (Clementine - a nod to her greengrocer ancestors), accompanying Margaret as she lays her annual flowers in the memorial garden.
Proposed visitor centre.
Surname
First Names
Rank
Service Number
Age
Regiment
Service Country
Date of death
Grave/Memorial Reference
Cemetery
Home Town
1. Arbuckle
Bert
Gunner
2085324
38
Canadian Field Artillery
Canadian
May 25th 1917
S.538
Shorncliffe
Indiana, U.S.A.
2. Attwood
William Sydney
Private
G/38004
21
Middlesex Regiment
United Kingdom
May 26th 1917
Screen Wall 128.542
Manor Park Cemetery
London, UK
3. Baxter
Archie
Private
285074
18
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 31st 1917
T.562
Shorncliffe
Coleman, On.
4. Bloodworth
George Henry
Private
G/78071
19
Middlesex Regiment
United Kingdom
May 25th 1917
0.555
Shorncliffe
London, UK
5. Brown
William
Gunner
342862
21
Canadian Field Artillery
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.551
Shorncliffe
Montreal, P.Q.
6. Bruce
James Alexander
Gunner
2085320
21
Canadian Field Artillery
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.545
Shorncliffe
St.Lambert, P.Q.
7. Desaleux
Jules Benjamin Alfred
Gunner
1250216
29
Canadian Field Artillery
Canadian
May 25th 1917
R.540
Shorncliffe
Winnipeg, Mb.
8. Doig
Arthur
Lance Corporal
922065
24
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.546
Shorncliffe
Birtle, Mb.
9. Houdart
Constant
Soldaat 2 kl mil

33
Belgian Army
Belgian
May 25th 1917
Screen Wall
Shorncliffe
Epernay, France
10. Jenner
O. A.
Company Quartermaster Sargeant
273124
26
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.554
Shorncliffe
Toronto, On.
11. MacDonald
R.
Private
922836
19
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.553
Shorncliffe
Basswood, Mb.
12. Marshall
Charles
Private
875420
23
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 26th 1917
T.552
Shorncliffe
Winnipeg, Mb.
13. McArthur
Archibald James
Private
922562
19
Canadian Infantry 200 Bn
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.547
Shorncliffe
Marquette, Mb.
14. McNair
Hugh
Private
922225
20
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.550
Shorncliffe
Whitewater, Mb.
15. McNulty
J. D.
Gunner
1251128
25
Canadian Field Artillery
Canadian
May 25th 1917
R.539
Shorncliffe
Edmonton, Ab.
16. Merchant
Robert William
Private
875090
34
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
R.543
Shorncliffe
Winnipeg, Mb.
17. Padley
F.
Private
922556
24
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
R.542
Shorncliffe
Carrington, Nottingham, UK
18. Pelluet
Ralph
Private
922514
25
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
R.544
Shorncliffe
North Battleford, Sask.
19. Sutherland
Jack
Private
922299
31
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May25th 1917
T.549
Shorncliffe
Bradford, On.
20. Tennyson
Ernest
Private
922331
23
Canadian Infantry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
T.548
Shorncliffe
Peterborough, On.
21. Verschueren
Hyppolite
Soldaat 2 kl OV

41
Belgian Army
Belgian
May 25th 1917
Screen Wall
Shorncliffe
Aarschot, Arrondissement Leuven, Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant), Belgium
22. Yeo
Lloyd Garfield
Private
226191
18
Canadian Reserve Cavalry
Canadian
May 25th 1917
R541
Shorncliffe
St. Thomas, On.
Several non-civilians also died in that same air raid.  They are all acknowledged on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, but should also have a mention here:
A memorial service was held at the Parish Church shortly afterwards, attended by the Mayor and various dignitaries.
The whole town, and indeed the whole country was in mourning, then anger set in, and hatred for all people who happened to have a trace of the enemy DNA started to manifest in earnest.
Florence Kathleen Norris
On May 21st, 1982, the Folkestone Herald published a letter from Clifford (address supplied).  It read as follows:

I refer to the air raid on Folkestone on May 25, 1917, and to the letter from Mrs. M. Roberts published in the May 7 issue of the Herald.  I have a letter written by my late mother, Mrs. Florence Green (nee Ramell), who was an eye-witness of the raid.

The letter was sent to her sister in America (a survivor of the Titanic disaster a few years earlier) but was returned by the censor.  Extracts from the letter include:

"We are all well after the raid.  You will have received a newspaper with a list of those killed and injured.  I happened to be having my tea at the shop when the whole affair happened.  I heard the engines coming and being different to the noise made by our aeroplanes, I began to feel uncomfortable, and just then a bomb exploded at the back of us.

"Practically every glass in St. John's Street were broken.  All the staff, including myself rushed out to the front.  I saw everything going into the air down Tontine Street.  You know how terrible it is thinking every minute is going to be one's last.

"It was the awful sights I witnessed after the actual raid that made me feel queer.  Everyone from Tontine Street was brought past the shop, and when I tell you it was a real slaughter house, you can guess how many were taken from there alone - quite 60, and heaps of soldiers were killed also.

"The plate glass window was broken at the shop, and nearly everything fell down in the affair.  Sixty bombs were rained on us and damage was also done in Manor Road, Bouverie Road East, and around by the Central Station.


Bombs were dropped all down the line and also near home, so you will see how narrowly we escaped.  What is to be will be, but my only desire is that they never come here anymore.  If that is an air-raid, well I never wish to see another.  We have a siren now, and on the approach of hostile aircraft that thing is sounded, and its quite some noise!"

The 'shop' referred to the family coach building business of Thomas Ramell, Dover Road.  My mother was 25 at the time.  Every year before World War 11, the Salvation Army used to hold a short service at the site of the Tontine Street bombing, Stokes Bros. Ltd. where there is a plaque attached to a lamp post commemorating the event.
Civilian Deaths
Photographs from the 100th Anniversary Memorial courtesy Mark Hourahane