Official Air Raid Figures

1940-1944:  225 persons lost their lives, 150 were seriously injured and 325 slightly injured.

 

Three weeks before Wilkinson’s was hit our school, Chirton School, was flattened by a land mine. The Rex Cinema was hit too. The Rex manager, a good bloke who told us jokes and made us laugh at Saturday morning matinees, was killed outright.
Robert Westall: Children of the Blitz: p29

 

The Shields Evening News, Friday October 13, 1944
This news article published when German air attacks had largely ceased, allows the reader to prepare a chronological chart for raids over Tynemouth Borough. An interesting comparison can be made between this document and the earlier newspaper report from 1941


The Evening News, Friday October 13, 1944
Official Figures of Tynemouth’s Air Attacks

During air raids on Tynemouth borough since June 22, 1940, 225 persons lost their lives, 150 were seriously injured and 325 slightly injured.

A total of 310 high explosive bombs have been dropped in the town, 19 parachute mines and approximately 18000 incediary bombs. There have been 253 alerts and bombs have dropped on 31 occasions.

The number of properties totally demolished was 166, while 281 were damaged beyond repair, 1303 seriously damaged and 9,928 slightly damaged. The number of shops, offices and public buildings damaged was 328.

These statistics were given to the Evening News yesterday by Insp. H. White, Deputy A.R.P. Controller.

There were no casualties during the first six small raids. The first casualty was at New York on August 29, 1940, when a man was injured in a house. Three high explosives caused considerable damage to property and this was the first occasion that incendiaries were showered down.

Parachute Mines
Many incendiaries fell that night round about the Moor Park Hospital and one entered a ward where a sick sailor refused to leave another patient too ill to be moved. The sailor picked the incendiary up and threw it out of the window. He was subsequently commended for his action.

The first parachute mines fell on the borough on October 24, 1940. One landed on the bowling green in Tynemouth Park and another near Kenners Dene Farm. The first caused damage to the Park Cafe, a first-aid post was put out of action, and many houses were damaged. Two more mines fell on February 16, 1941, and these necessitated the evacuation of certain areas in Tynemouth and North Shields.

The worst raid up to this time occurred on the night of April 9-10 when 35 high explosives were dropped together with thousands of incendiaries. The raid lasted nearly six hours and 35 people were killed, 15 seriously injured and 86 slightly injured.

There was severe damage to property, including Preston Hospital and the Royal National Lifeboat Station. Serious fires included a conflagration in the timber yards which extended for a mile along the river front. A total of 400 minor fires were dealt with.

Shelter Disaster
On the night of April 15-16, four parachute mines dropped and one practically obliterated Chirton School and the warden’s post attached to the Rex Cinema was wrecked. A large number of wardens, including the Chief Warden, Coun. W.R. Forster and other officers, had just vacated the premises after having had refreshments, when the incident occurred. Only one warden and a fire-watcher were killed there. Damage to property was heavy that night.

The most tragic incident happened on May 3 when only four bombs fell in the town. One made a direct hit on a three storey building in King Street occupied by Messrs Wilkinson, mineral water manufacturers, under which was a communal basement shelter. Three of the compartments were completely destroyed and adjacent walls caved in. There were 192 persons in the shelter at the time, and of these, 105 were killed, 10 seriously injured and 43 slightly injured. Included among the victims were 41 children under 16. Two others were killed in George Street when a house was hit.

What were regarded as as the most serious raids on the borough occurred on September 30 and October 2, when dive-bombing was carried out. There were 61 killed and 132 injured in these raids and the Evening News office was put out of action. Nevertheless the paper made its appearance as usual, having to be printed at Newcastle.

The Wesley Church, Coach Lane was totally destroyed by fire. Eight high explosives providentially fell in the old cemetery, and severe damage was caused in many parts of the borough.

Cullercoats Church
In a daylight tip and run raid on August 8, 1942, there was a direct hit on the Methodist Church in Cullercoats, and a boy who was practicing at the organ was killed. A hospital at Cullercoats was among other places damaged. Cullercoats again suffered on October 11, when there were 36 casualties, including six fatal.

Phosphorous bombs were dropped on December 14, but there were no casualties and only slight damage. On March 22 these bombs were used again, but there were no casualties or damage.

In the last raid experienced, a bomb dropped in Queen Alexandra Road and the Secondary School was among the damaged property.

The Civil Defence and aftercare services excelled in all raids. Civil Defence casualties are: Wardens, four killed and 17 hurt; Police, two killed and nine injured; First-aid parties, 12 injured; First-aid posts, five injured; Rescue parties, two injured.

 

Evening News Report 1944 (PDF)