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"Found at the allotment after June Raid 1941"

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The June Raid took place on the night of the 21 and 22 June 1941. The raiders dropped these propaganda leaflets, then they dropped 18 parachute mines, and 15 HE bombs, rendering many people homeless, and killing at least eight people in Southampton and nearby (see below.)

Many Southampton men were serving on the transatlantic convoys, and in other theatres of the naval war.

Between 21 and 28 June 1941, 216 Merchant Seamen lost their lives, including Boatswain George Willstrip Raper, who died with 37 of his crewmates when SS River Lugar was torpedoed off West Africa, 26 June 1941.


Civilian Gallantry Awards, case no 1811

Dr Marketa Diamant Desser was Resident Medical Officer at the Children’s Hospital, called out to an incident in Cannon Street on the night of the 22 June 1941 (see below). She crawled through a small hole to administer morphia to people trapped in a basement. When First Aid Mobile Unit No 4 arrived, “she handed over to the Doctor in Charge and returned back to the Children’s Hospital. During this time bombs were still falling.” Dr Desser was a Czechoslovakian “refugee from Nazi aggression” who had come to England via Vienna in 1931. Her status is described on her Gallantry Award, which also states that her brother was serving in the Czechoslovakian Army, originally in France, but by 1941 in England. Dr Diamant-Desser became a British Citizen in March 1948, and practiced as a GP in Stoke-on-Trent until her death.


Remembering the Southampton blitz day by day

See Air Raids, World War 2

22 June 1941
Leonard Ronald Natt of the Police Auxiliary Messenger Service should have been off duty, but reported to the Civic Centre Police Station and began carrying messages and helping with the telephones. A report came in that a light was showing from a tower at the Central Railway Station, drawing the attention of the bombers dropping their parachute mines, but the police officer sent to put it out could not climb through the small window which was the only way to reach it. Sixteen year old Leonard volunteered to help. The platform and offices had been severely damaged and part of the Station was on fire. As bombs continued to fall, Leonard reached the lift shaft, climbed a ladder and passed through a skylight onto a flat roof. He then got hold of a long stick, squeezed his body through a small window at the side of the shaft and smashed the electric lamp which had been showing the light. He received the BEM for his bravery.
Frank Francis Whitlock of Calmore, was injured at Southampton Central Station, dying later the same day ay Royal South Hants Hospital. He was a railway Porter
Florence Mary Collett and her husband, Arthur were the landlord and landlady of the Railway Tavern, 12 Blechynden Terrace. “They were buried in the basement of the house and it was not until many hours afterwards that the ARP workers succeeded in getting them out. They were the only people in the house at the time.” (Southern Daily Echo 23 June 1941).
Alice Beatrice Haines was sheltering under the stairs in a friend’s house in Winchester Road while her husband was fire-watching nearby. “I saw my wife about five minutes before,” her husband Harry told an Echo reporter. “I went into the house and said to her ‘It’s getting quieter. I shall be seeing you soon.’ … I then went and stood near the shop of my daughter, for whom I was firewatching, and heard a big explosion, the force of which blew my hat off and stunned and deafened me. When I returned to the house where my wife was spending the night, I saw that it had collapsed about her, and at once feared the worst.” Their daughter, Violet Beatrice Haines, was a dispensing chemist, and her shop was at 19 Burgess Road.
George Pointer was the leader of Rescue Party No 8, called out at 3.45 to an incident at the corner of Cannon Street and St James Road, where a parachute mine had turned a house into a heap of debris. About fifty people had gathered and were trying to reach the casualties, but because the debris was very unstable, Mr Pointer cleared the site of “all civilians and soldiers who were further endangering the lives of the trapped persons.” (Civilian Gallantry Awards, case no 1741). Cries for help could be heard from people trapped in the basement where they had been sheltering, and Mr Pointer shone his torch deep into the rubble until he discovered their approximate position. He then began tunneling toward them. It took 3 ½ hours to reach them, and although other members of his team helped, “he took upon himself the very dangerous job of working under the debris for long periods and refused relief.” He received the BEM for his actions.
Dr Marketa Diamant Desser was Resident Medical Officer at the Children’s Hospital, called out to this incident in Cannon Street. She crawled through a small hole to administer morphia. When Mobile Unit No 4 arrived, “she handed over to the Doctor in Charge and returned back to the Children’s Hospital. During this time bombs were still falling.” (Civilian Gallantry Awards, case no 1811)
The Doctor in Charge of Mobile Unit No 4 was Dr Kathleen Evelyn Slaney. The unit left the Isolation Hospital at 3.50am, with Dr Slaney driving ahead of an ambulance carrying three nurses, a driver and two others. They had to stop on Church Street, Shirley while parachute mines fell. In Cannon Street they found that two women (Mrs Walters and Mrs Lawler) were trapped in the basement they were using as a shelter, under debris and thick beams, which had to be sawn through. Dr Slaney crawled through the shifting rubble to administer morphia and stimulants. Three hours later, the women were freed and sent to hospital. Dr Slaney was a general practitioner married to a fellow doctor, William Bullock, volunteering part time for the Civil Defence First Aid Post Service. She seems to have used both her married and maiden names. She received a King’s Commendation for her actions 21 November 1941.
In Luccombe Road, Beatrice Sims was found by neighbour W L Pulman sitting on a pile of debris near a badly-damaged shelter “in a very distressed state … She pointed to the shelter and said ‘my husband and baby are down there’ … [She had only] a day or two before returned from a nursing home with her newly born baby” Both husband, Douglas Albert Sims and baby Gloria Anita were dead. Beatrice had been badly injured, and died herself the next day.
Albert Edward Roberts, the landlord of the Highfield Hotel in Highfield Lane, died the same day at the Royal South Hants Hospital.
The Echo mentions incidents in nearby villages, showing how Southampton residents were taking refuge in neighbouring districts.
At Hill Farm, Durley, two couples from Southampton were killed:
Maurice Albert Vare and his wife Rita Rosetta, of 163 Dimond Road, Bitterne
and Rita’s brother Norman Henry Bartholomew and his wife Mona Alice Joan, of 36 Wellbeck Avenue. Maurice and Norman are listed on the 1939 register at 163 Dimond Road: Maurice was a storekeeper at Vickers, and Norman an aircraft fitter. Norman was not yet married, and Rita was registered as a “Voluntary Helper” at Corfe Mullen.
Their host Charles Henry Rutter and his baby daughter Gillian also died.
There are only three other casualties on the Droxford Roll of Honour.
At Fernyhurst, Rownhams, 4 evacuees from Gosport were killed, remembered a year later in the Portsmouth papers by family and Rownhams schoolmates:
Eileen Dorothy Mary Horn
Ada Lilian Burley
Amy Irene Burley
Colleen Margaret Aileen Moore
Eileen is listed on the Southampton Civilian Roll of Honour, and her cousins Ada and Amy, and friend Colleen on the Romsey and Stockbridge Roll.
At Chilworth:
James George Dowden, of 5 Walnut Avenue, Swaythling, died “near the blacksmith’s forge, Chilworth.”
At Post Office, Ower, two Southampton couples:
Agnes Rebecca Fletcher, and her husband William Charles Fletcher, of 17 Cambridge Street, Shirley,
Victor Budd, and his wife Rose , of 108 Bellemoor Road, Shirley
had taken shelter with
Reginald Herbert Shone, his wife Lily Shone (the postmistress), and their seven-year old daughter Wanda Joan Shone
along with the Shone’s neighbour Georgina Mouland, aged 83, who had once been postmistress herself.

June 2021

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Sotonopedia last updated 21 June 2021

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