Sunday, 31 August 2014


Most Sundays, as you know, we worship at Aldham Parish Church, but this morning the Benefice Holy Communion Service was held at Elmsett, so we motored over to Elmsett Church which is pictured above. It's a lovely looking old Church, of different periods from quite early Norman onwards. The trees to the left of the picture are looking very handsome, BUT.... on the last day of August, their green leaves are  already beginning to turn yellow.  Ann said that some of the yellow leaves were whirling past the church windows during the service.

Inside the Church, and right in front of us was the parish War Memorial, and I saw that on the part referring to the Second World War was something very interesting indeed. After the service, when we were all drinking coffee I went and had a good look at it. In the 1939 to 1945 lower section the Parishioners listed as having been killed in Elmsett by enemy action listed ten people - six women and four men, on May the 12th, 1941.     Our Aldham Churchwarden, Malcolm, came over and joined me. He told me that he was a boy at the  time and living in Elmsett Parish, and remembered it well. The parish main street was bombed in the early hours of that morning. Malcolm thought for a moment then said there was someone in the Church who would remember it even better than he, and went and fetched one of the lady choristers over. She remembered it well. She told me that five of those killed were all in the same family, and that they were relations of hers. She said that nobody ever seemed to know why the centre of a small Suffolk village was bombed, but that night and the day following obviously lived on (nightmarishly, I should think) in her memory.

It rather went to prove what I've always found - that Suffolk people have long memories.


PixieMum said...

Not sure where in Suffolk this is but do think the aircraft were aiming for one of the many airfields in Suffolk or Norfolk?

Hope all is well with you and Ann, we think of you when we look up to that clock, it is still going well.


PixieMum said...

Maybe the bombers were intending to bomb one of the many East Anglian airfields, instead the village was hit instead.

Hope you and Ann are well, we think of you when we look at that clock, it is going well still thanks to you.


Mike and Ann said...

Hello Madelein. good to hear from you. It's in South Suffolk, and I think that your guess is very probably the right one. There are (were) several airfields in the area, and presumably Gerry got a bit lost and bombed the wrong area, probably aiming for Whatfield, about three miles away.

Glad to hear the clock's going well, and hope that both of you are , too.
Warm Regards, Mike and Ann.

Liz said...

I think I've driven through Elmsett but not sure I've ever stopped there. In a previous life, I lived on the married quarters at RAF Wattisham, which is about 8 miles from Elmsett. It never occurred to me that there had been any bombs dropped nearby during the war. History is so much more interesting when told by someone who was actually there, isn't it?

Sir Bruin said...

It was not unknown for crews to dump their bombs if the weather turned and they could not see the intended target or if the aircraft had suffered damage. possibly, this was the case.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Ursas Major and Minor. I think Liz makes a good point in that first hand history, told by someone who was there, is much more reliable and interesting, than when told by someone who, centuries later, has an axe to grind, or a point to prove. And Sir Bruin shows his usual solid good sense in his suggestion that if they couldn't see the intended target, Jerry showed his usual practicality by dumping the bomb load and heading off home. The end result, though, showed the nastiness of war generally.

Crowbard said...

One of the reasons why Gerry planes off-loaded their bombs when they couldn't reach or find their military targets was simply to shed the weight. Their fuel load was calculated to get them onto target loaded and back home tons lighter. Another significant factor was the jolting the bombs' detonators would get on landing - very risky for plane, crew and airbase.
Why take the risks when a little co-lateral damage could be achieved?