17 March 1945

Raid No. 71

The Air Raid Warning 'Red' was sounded at 21.35 hours and at 21.45 hours the Industrial Alarm was received for Hull Beverley and Brough. The Air Raid Message ‘Raiders Clear' had been received at 22.29 hours.

Back and at a very high speed from North West to South East, but there is evidence that one plane was observed at about 21.26hrs either gliding in from the direction of the coast only opening up its engines when over the River Humber, it then continued ever the city in a North West direction. There is also evidence by many who saw it flying over just prior to the bombs being dropped, that they were under the impression that it was an RAF interceptor fighter plane making for the coast.

It is apparent that few who were on the streets making their way home etc. from places of amusement, public houses etc. took little notice of the plane and continued on their way, the majority being under the impression that searchlights or gun-fire would give a preliminary warning of the approach of enemy planes. The result being that when the bombs were dropped, the main road Holderness Road was busy with both pedestrians and vehicles and many were in the side streets, both making their way home and standing about as had been the custom, ready to enter their shelters on the approach of enemy Planes, usually well-advertised by gun-fire etc.

There was visual evidence that the bombs or rather bomb containers were released when the plane was over the streets running off the north side of Holderness Road, and when flying at an angle with Holderness Road. The bombs, on striking, made two distinct explosions, indicating that the contents of one container reached the ground a fraction before the other one.

The first of the bombs struck the pavement at the south side of Holderness Road in front of the shops, just east of Holland Street, continued ever the shops some of which struck the roofs, others in the backyards behind the shops and houses on the north side of Morley Avenue, Sherburn street, the first few front houses the west side of Sherburn street, across the street onto the houses on the east side of Sherburn street, into the backyards and gardens, and then onto the vacant land on the West side of Morrill Street where it would appear they have fallen thickest.

The extent of the area in which the bomb fell was about 150 x 30 yards. Immediately after the explosion occurred, people were seen lying about on Holderness Road in the north end of Sherburn Street and in Morrill Street opposite the vacant land, 11 being killed and 41 injured, 22 of these serious, only one being injured indoors, Mrs Maud Howard of 5 Morley Avenue, Sherburn Street who was lying in bed upstairs when she was struck by shrapnel,  apparently from a bomb which struck at first the back attachment of a Holderness Road shop, then splashing the backs of the houses on the North side of Morley Avenue when it exploded on impact. Two of the injured were in a small saloon motor car which was being driven along Holderness Road towards the City, the driver being injured in the arm and the passenger in the thigh. All of the glass was shattered from the car, three of the tyres burst and the body etc. of the car marked in no less than 90 places where it had been struck.

As soon as the bombs had dropped, crowds of people collected and the one policeman who was at the end of Holderness Road and Severn Street at the time found he could do nothing on his own and immediately went to summon assistance and Ambulances. Policemen who were in the vicinity made to the various scenes and further calls were put through for ambulances and when they failed to arrive, many in the crowd blamed the police and became aggressive and hostile.

While some people were genuinely seeking information regarding casualties and some were willing to help, the greater part were merely satisfying idle curiosity and would not move on. Police on the spot rendered first-aid as far as possible with what appliances were at hand and some of the injured were taken into private houses pending the arrival of Civil Defence Ambulances, the first one arriving not until 22.30hrs without any stretchers and had to return for them. In the meantime a private motor car driven by Mr C. Howson, 105 Brindley Street, Mail photographer arrived in Morrill Street and took three of the injured away to East. Park First Aid Post and would have returned for more but his petrol gave out. Other drivers of cars on Holderness Road including Divisional Officer Jewett National Fire Service also volunteered to remove injured on Holderness Road and many sitting cases were taken to the Royal Infirmary in this way. All the drivers who assisted deserved high praise.  A rescue van which came to Morrill Street was also utilised to take injured away before the arrival of the Ambulances. The first record of an Ambulance party reporting to the Incident Officer was 23.00 hrs. After this the casualties were quickly cleared.

From people in the vicinity at the time the bombs were released it was though at first they were incendiaries, by the sound made during decent and after explosions it was thought by many that they were a type of rocket with a fragmentation effect as they did not answer the description of any known type of bomb previously dropped in this country. By the time the Bomb Disposal Officer arrived on the scene, two halves of containers had been found, marked AB500 1 the type used tor carrying the SD10 bombs and marked 37SD 10A. Yet when he examined the first two unexploded bombs found, minus their fins he doubted whether they were SD 10’s on account of both ends being flat, but on further investigation it was found that both of these bombs had struck solid surfaces which had apparently flattened the nose into the body of the bomb and by the following morning, Lieutenant Richards was able to say definitely that the bombs were German SD 10’s.

This is the first occasion on which this type of bomb has been dropped on the City. In all cases where they had exploded the fragmentation effect was very severe up to 30 or 40 yards distance and a plate glass window was broken and indentation to brickwork was found 100 yards away. Where they struck hard surfaces, road or footpath, there is little crater effect, merely the surface chipped out 1 inch or 2 inches deep in a diameter of about 9 inches to 12 inches. On striking roofs in some instances they have burst in the loft and others in the first floor rooms. In all cases, the fragmentation and blast effect was very bad.

Where they had fallen in backyards close to buildings, walls had been demolished. When striking 9 inch side walls they appear to have burst on impact causing blast effect on the outside of the wall, making a hole about 3 foot in diameter and causing blast and fragmentation effect throughout the inside of the room. Where they have struck soft surface on vacant land or gardens the crater is about 2 foot deep, by 3 foot in diameter. Where they have failed to explode and have struck houses, they have gone clean through and were found on the ground floor. Where they have struck soft ground and failed to explode they have been recovered from a depth of 15 feet.

All the damage to buildings was of a slight nature and is repairable;-

Shops 10

Houses 41 (39 in Sherburn Street)

In view of the large number of public on the roads at the time, the casualties were not heavy and could have been much worse if the whole concentration had fallen along the main road. The casualties consisted of both sexes between the ages of 71 here down to a baby of 18 months, the casualties are as follows;-

Killed 13

Seriously injured 21

Treated at First Aid Post 10