The day that 39 died in German bombing raid on Eastbourne shelter

Spencer Road and the junction with South Street SUS-180514-150637001
Spencer Road and the junction with South Street SUS-180514-150637001

This week we continue our look back at stories behind those who were killed during the German bombing raids in the Second World War.

Kathleen Ellen Davies is among those listed on a roll of honour which will be placed on the new Eastbourne Civilian War Memorial in the new peace garden at the Wish Tower.

Kathleen Eileen Davies SUS-180514-150531001

Kathleen Eileen Davies SUS-180514-150531001

Kathleen was killed in the Spencer Road air raid shelter bombing on April 3 1943 when 38 others also perished.

Born on April 13 1917 in Eastbourne Kathleen, née Wilson, was the wife of Richard George Davies, born on February 10 1916 at Steyning.

She was the first of two children and the only daughter of Arthur George Wilson and Kate, his wife, née Greaves.

Kathleen’s nephew Stephen Clifford Wilson said, “I believe Kathleen’s husband was with her and there is a story of him having covered a baby with his body.

“Whatever remains of her there were left were buried with his and those of their unborn only child in Langney cemetery.

“Her engagement ring survived the blast, although it was seriously mangled. It is now in the possession of my sister. It has been left as it was found.”

Saturday April 3 was the worst ever day for casualty figures for a single raid on the town.

A German bomb demolished the surface aid raid shelter in Spencer Road.

The shelter was of the brick wall and concrete roof variety erected just before or in the early days of the war, intended purely as a blast shelter for people caught out doors during a raid.

The 250kg bomb made a direct hit and literally destroyed it.

Some 99 people were injured during the raid.