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Air raids on Exeter - 1940 to 1942

Page added 9th June 2016

It is thought there were 18 or 19 air raids on Exeter in the period August 1940 to December 1942. Extensive damage was done to property, especially during April and May 1942. There were 268 killed, 115 seriously injured and 594 slightly injured, according to the chief constables notebook. This page attempts to list the dates, times, number of bombs, places hit and damage to property. Its accuracy depends upon the contemporary records, and those who were there, may find the list a memory jogger, while the young may wonder how people could survive such a time.


Bomb details

Damage and casualties

Wednesday 7th August 1940

Single bomb - crater 4ft deep split water main and adjoining properties damaged.

Charnley Avenue, Warwick, Glenbar and Glenella, Moreton Avenue, Green Lane and Prescott Road


Single HE bomb 

Damage in Savile Road and Merrivale Road.


Single HE bomb 

Cowick Street - Garden of Messrs French & Co, Dellers Bakery, Turks Head Inn, Moreton Inn, Morton Inn Court, Union Place, Buller Road - Exeter Munition Co


Single bomb 

Shooting Marsh Stile
2 - Extensive damage - uninhabitable, 4 - plaster damage only
Rattenburys Place, Shooting Marsh Stile
1 - damaged walls ceilings and windows - habitable, 2 - Extensive damage - uninhabitable 3 - Badly damaged - uninhabitable
4 - damaged but habitable - communal wash house and toilets badly damaged.
The Forge' Shooting Marsh Stile
Workshop damaged
Stephens & Stephens Shooting Marsh Stile
Builders yard - slight damage
Royal Oak Inn, Alphington Street
Plate glass window smashed
Alphington Street
29 - slight damage, 27 - small window smashed, 26 - Large window smashed in shop
P Pike & Co
Large window smashed
Wylie House
Small window smashed
Wheelwrights Workshop, Shooting Marsh Stile
Partition damaged, window damaged


Single bomb 

Damage in Wardrew Road and Maple Road

One man slightly injured

Friday 16th August 1940


Two HE bombs

Field by Bovemoor Lane and field by Mile Lane - slight damage to nearby buildings.

Friday 6th September 1940


Single bomb - failed to explode

The 250 kilo delayed action HE was moved and detonated at a safer place

48 Normandy Road - damaged. Some damage caused to houses nearby when the bomb was detonated by bomb disposal.

Wednesday 11th September 1940

Single bomb failed to explode

These streets evacuated - Sweetbrier Lane, Whiteway Drive, Hamlin Lane, Hamlin Farm, Stuart Road

Monday 16th September 1940


Two HE bombs

The bombs fell on fields north west of Exwick adjacent to Hamlyn Way – there was evidence of five bomb craters on the hills to the north west of Exwick. The bombs were probably unloaded when German aircraft were flying back to their base and the craters were still visible in aerial photographs taken in 1946.

Tuesday 17th September 1940

10.10pm approx

Six HE bombs dropped - two exploded in grounds of the Devon & Exeter Girls' Training School, Polsloe Road

These street evacuated - Blackboy Road, Polsloe Road, Alexandra Terrace, Prospect Buildings, Elmside Close, Hampton Place, Toronto Road

Four boys killed at Blackboy Road.

Thursday 28th November 1940


Believed to be two large land mines - one exploded between Woodstock and Cranbrook Road and one in an open field, causing less damage.

Extensive damage over a wide area of Heavitree including - Woodstock Road, Cranbrook Road, Avondale Road, Mayfield Road, Glenmore Road, St Loyes Road, Attwyll Avenue, Sidwell Street, Wellington Road, East Wonford Hill, Lethbridge Road, Heath Road, Quarry Lane, Hoker Road, Stafford Terrace, Rifford Road, Cross Park Terrace, Heavitree Park, Hurst Avenue, Durling Road, Peryam Crescent, Woodwater Lane, Hope Road, Sivell Place, Cholwell Cottages, Ludwell Lane, Rutherford Street, Broom Close, Salters Road, St Loyes Almshouses, Wilford Road, Fore Street, Regent Square, Stanwey, St Loyes Terrace, Salters Hill, Cummings Buildings, Coronation Road, Wonford Village, Wonford Street, Sweets Cottages, Morgans Building, Cyprus Terrace, Bovemoors Lane, Wonford Road

Four killed and 26 injured.

16th January 1941


Four HE bombs

Magdalen Bridge - slight damage.

Sunday 4th May 1941

Low level machine gunning

Exmouth Junction.

Monday 5th May 1941


Three HE bombs - two fell on allotments at Flowerpot Fields and the third on the GWR railway line 600 yards south of St Davids Station.

The railway line was badly damaged and -

Western Road - Film Transport Ltd, Exe Valley Joinery Works, Emmanuel Buildings, Eammanuel Church Hall all slightly damaged.

Lynwood Avenue - every house sustained general damage

Exe Street - Council Yard slight damage

Bonhay Road - slight damage

Tuesday 6th May 1941

2.30am approx

Nine bombs at East Wonford

Warwick Road - general damage to doors and roofing.
Birchy Barton Hill - Innisfree, Westfield, Donbar, The Ness, The Chalet and Belvedere - windows smashed.
Hill Barton Road - Hawcroft, Trelake, Westbourne - broken windows and damage to roofing.
Ringswell Avenue - nine houses sustained slight damage.
Honiton Road - Gallows Cross Filling Station and Heimet.
Lower Hill Barton Road - Hawcroft, Trelake, Westbourne, Laburnam House, Avril, Montigo, Wilaine, Willeslay, Wellington, Three Corners.
Pinhoe Road - Honeylands.

Tuesday 17th June 1941


Five bombs over Burnthouse Lane, Topsham Road.

1 Center of Burnthouse Lane
2 ground at rear of Rosemount
3 rear of Prospect Dairy
4 garden of Red House
5 garden of house in Prospect Place.

Damage to property in - Shakespeare Road, Tennyson Avenue, Chaucer Avenue, Milton Road, Burnthouse Lane, Briar Crescent, Hawthorn Road, Spencer Avenue, Earl Richards Road, Fernpark Close, Topsham Road, Prospect Place.
Damage to the following buildings - Dolphin Inn, Exeter Co-op Society, Electricity Sub Station, Police Sub Station. Damage to a water main required all to boil water for five minutes.

Four people injured, one seriously.

Thursday 23rd April 1942


Seven HE bombs - four over Okehampton Street/Road, two over Marsh Barton and one at Redhills. Many incendiary bombs were also dropped over a wide area.

Buildings in the following roads sustained damage, mostly due to the many incendiary bombs dropped - Alphington Street, Attwyll Avenue, Barton Road, Beaufort Road, Belgrave Road, Bonhay Road, Brook Green Terrace, Carlisle Road, Cathedral Close, Cowley Road, Culverland Road, Devonshire Place, Duckworth Road, Edgerton Park Road, Glass House Lane, Hill Barton Road, Hillsborough Avenue, Hoker Road, Hoopern Lane, Howell Road, Isleworth Road, King William Terrace, Kings Avenue, Kings Street, Longbrook Street, Matford Avenue, New North Road, Okehampton Road, Old Vicarage Road, Oxford Road, Paris Street, Pennsylvania Close, Pennsylvania Crescent, Pennsylvania Hill, Pennsylvania Road, Powderham Crescent, Prospect Park, Queens Terrace, Regent's Park, Regent's Street, Shooting Marsh Stile, Springfield Road, Streatham Rise, Topsham Road, Union Road, Victoria Street, Waterloo Place, Wells Street, West Avenue, Wonford Road, Wonford Street, Woodbine Place.

The following properties were also damaged - Bradley Rowe House, City steam Laundry, Edgerton Park Laundry, Exwick Cemetery, Ham & Passmore, Northcotts Garage, Parkins Foundry, Port House Laundry, Victoria Inn.

Five were killed in Okehampton Street.

Saturday 25th April 1942


Four parachute flares followed by many HE bombs dropped over the city.

Buildings in the following streets were damaged or destroyed - Culverland Road, Cumberland Terrace, Fore Street, King Street (several fatalities), Matford Avenue, Morgan Square, New Buildings, Paris Street at entrance to Brunswick Place, Prospect Park, Springfield Road, Thornton Hill, Victoria Park Road, Westgate Slip, Wonford Road.

73 people wre killed, 20 seriously injured and 53 slightly injured.

Sunday 26th April 1942


Single HE bomb plus an El container of 702 1kg incendiary bombs over Newtown area.

Buildings in the following streets were damaged or destroyed - Baring Crescent, Clifton Street, East John Street, Heavitree Road (by College Road), Portland Street, Sandford Street, Spicer Road.

Three people were killed, too seriously injured and 14 slightly injured.

Sunday 3rd May 1942


Incendiary bombs.

Incendiaries fell on Paris Street, Sidwell Street and Eastgate causing fires at the Gas Company's Office and Chudley's shop.

Monday 4th May 1942


An estimated 10,000 incendiary bombs and 75 tons (160 bombs) of HE from 40 Junkers 88 bombers.

Bombs and incendiaries fell on the following streets - Acland Terrace, Albion Place, Anthony Road, Baring Crescent, Bath Road, Belgrave Road, Belmont Street, Blackall Road, Bonnington Grove, Cheeke Street, Chute Street, Clifton Place, Clifton Street, Codrington Street, Devonshire Place, Dinham Road, Dix's Field, East John Street, Eastgate, Edgerton Park Road, Elm Grove Road, Elmside, First Avenue, Fore Street, Heavitree Park, Heavitree Road, High Street, Higher Summerlands, Hillside Avenue, Iddesleigh Road, Ladysmith Road, Lions Holt, Lower Avenue, Lower Summerlands, Lucas Avenue, Matford Avenue, May Street, New North Road, Old Tiverton Road, Oxford Road, Paris Street, Park Road, Parr Street, Pinhoe Road, Portland Street, Roseberry Road, Roseland Avenue, Roseland Crescent, Salisbury Road, Salutary Mount, Sandford Street, Second Avenue, St Jame's Road, St Sidwell's Avenue, Sidwell Street, Spicer Road, Springfield Road, South Lawn Terrace, South Street, Southernhay, Stuart Road, Summerland Crescent, Summerland Street, Third Avenue, Toronto Road, Waverley Avenue, Wonford Road (St Leonard's Terrace), Wyndham Avenue, Velwell Avenue, Victoria Street.

Buildings badly damaged or destroyed - City Library, Hall of the Vicars Choral, Bampfyled House, Norman House (King Street), City Hospital, Orthopaedic Hospital.

Schools and Colleges badly damaged or destroyed - St Lukes College, Choristers School, St Sidwells School, Ladysmith School, Maynard School, Edgerton Park School, St Hilds School, Deaf and Dumb Institute, Dr Barnardo's Homes.

Churches destroyed - St Sidwells, St James, Bedford Chapel, Southernhay Congregational Church, St Lawrence.

Churches damaged - St Stephens, Cathedral, Emanuel Church, Church of the Blessed Sacramen (Heavitree), Sacred Heart Church, Heavitree Congregational Church.

Pubs and Inns destroyed - Globe Inn, Exonia Vaults, Grapes Inn, Chevalier Inn, Old Golden Lion Inn, New Golden Lion Inn, Country House Inn, Castle Hotel, Bristol Inn, White Lion Hotel, Greyhound Inn, Acland Hotel, New Coach and Horses Inn, Old Coach and Horses Inn, Kings Head Inn, Red Lion Inn, Royal Oak Inn, Rising Sun Inn, Summerland Inn, Elephant & Castle Inn, Crown & Anchor Inn, Seven Starts Hotel, Deller's Cafe.

156 people killed and 563 injured.

See the May 1942 blitz for the full story.

Wednesday 30th December 1942


Six 500kg HE bombs were dropped.

Buildings in the following streets were damaged - Holloway Street (twelve killed), Isca Road (one killed), Polsloe Road, Attwyll Avenue (three killed), South Street (one killed), Topsham Road, Willeys Avenue (one killed) and Laburnum Road (UXB).

Nineteen people were killed in this raid.

Sergeant COLLINS described what happened when the Topsham Road bomb went on to Briar Crescent.

The bomb passed through the back bedroom window of 95 Briar Crescent, through the floor, into the front room, passing over a settee on which the woman was feeding the baby, then out through the front wall striking the garden footpath, it glanced up ward and removed the roof of 34 Laburnum Road. The bomb then fell into the garden of number 32, still unexploded

Source: Official police, fire and council records, Exeter, the Blitz and Rebirth of the City by Norman Venning.

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