Row over memorial for Metropole bombing victims

Row over memorial for Metropole bombing victims

BLAST: Metrople Hotel

DISAPPOINTED: Rhona Taylor

First published in News by

CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed plans to commemorate those who died in Bournemouth’s worst wartime bombing raid – but questioned why people are being discouraged from attending.

A memorial plaque at the site of the former Metropole Hotel at the Lansdowne will be unveiled next Thursday, 70 years on from the bombing raid that killed an estimated 131 people.

But Bournemouth council has restricted the event to a small number of invited guests only, claiming public safety could be put at risk if too many people turn up.

Among those disappointed not to be invited is 76-year-old Rhona Taylor, who used to live at Lansdowne Crescent, where the post office now stands.

She was seven when a squadron of the Luftwaffe’s Focke Wulfs bombed the town and said the memories of it are as strong as ever.

“I was playing in the garden with my sister when the sirens sounded and my mother called us both in,” she said. “Afterwards our garden was covered in rubble, it was about a foot deep.

“We wouldn’t be here today if we hadn’t obeyed her and gone in. I’ve never forgotten that day. My husband’s aunt went on to marry a Canadian serviceman and he tracked down one of the German pilots who had bombed Bournemouth.”

She said she had been involved in some of the preparations for the memorial and would have liked to have been there to see it unveiled. “I would like to pay my respects,” she said. “I was quite upset not to be invited.”

And Tom Jones, 85, was in the civil defence team who were first one of the scene following the raid. He has also not been invited.

“The heavy rescue lads did a fantastic job that day,” he said. “I just find it odd that they seem to have made no attempt to contact people who were actually involved with it.” Angela Beleznay, whose book ‘Incident 48: Raid on a South Coast Town’ tells the full story of what happened, said despite the disagreements over how best to publicise the event, everyone was supportive of the memorial. “Those young men came here to help us fight a war,” she said. “Some may have expected to die in battle, some may have expected to go home unscathed. None of them expected to die in one of Britain’s most beautiful seaside towns on a lovely sunny day.”

Bournemouth council said representatives of the service personnel and civilians who were in the hotel on the day the air raid took place had been invited to the unveiling of the memorial.

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, the Canadian Assistant Air Attache, the Australian Air Force Advisor, the Mayor and three Canadian veterans have confirmed they are attending.

Tony Williams, Chief Executive of Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “It was only 70 years ago that the air raid happened in Bournemouth and there are people living in the town that still remember it. “Residents that have a personal connection to the events that took place that day are very welcome to attend the unveiling of the town’s memorial and remember those who lost their lives.

“The location of the plaque does mean that space is limited and we are therefore respectfully encouraging the wider public who wish to see the plaque to do so after the unveiling.”

  • A report in Friday’s Echo incorrectly stated that the plaque will be unveiled on Wednesday. The ceremony will actually take place at lunchtime on Thursday.

Comments (25)

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10:07am Sat 18 May 13

Time_Traveller says...

Typical of the council to claim public safety would be at risk if a lot of people attended. Why didn't they try finding out if lots of locals would like to attend and deal with the safety aspect by putting in a short road block or something?

Prob too much work for them and besides that, they more than likely wanted to keep the "jollies" for themselves and s0d the the local people who were actually THERE at the time ....... :o/
Typical of the council to claim public safety would be at risk if a lot of people attended. Why didn't they try finding out if lots of locals would like to attend and deal with the safety aspect by putting in a short road block or something? Prob too much work for them and besides that, they more than likely wanted to keep the "jollies" for themselves and s0d the the local people who were actually THERE at the time ....... :o/ Time_Traveller
  • Score: 0

10:07am Sat 18 May 13

BNSS_39 says...

The Air Raid on Bournemouth of May 23rd 1943 - two events at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society to commemorate the area's most traumatic day of WW2...

Tuesday 21st May at 7:30pm: “The 1943 ‘Hit and Run’ raid on Bournemouth” - a talk by John Cresswell. To mark the 70th Anniversary of the most devastating of the raids on Bournemouth during the last war. John saw the bombers on that fateful day and is currently researching Bournemouth’s Civil Defence.

Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th May; open 10:00am to 4:00pm each day: “The Bombing of the Hotel Metropole 1943” - SPECIAL EXHIBITION. On 23rd May 1943 24 FW190s made a lightning raid on Bournemouth, killing hundreds of airmen and civilians. The BNSS premises (which was the ARP Post dealing with the incident) will be displaying photographs and other material.

EVERYONE WELCOME - just turn up! Please leave a small donation to help support our activities. Why not become a member of our Society? - donations and member subscriptions are vital for our future survival. Hope to see you there!

Bournemouth Natural Science Society
39 Christchurch Road,
BH13NS

www.bnss.org.uk

https://www.facebook
.com/BournemouthNatu
ralScienceSociety
The Air Raid on Bournemouth of May 23rd 1943 - two events at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society to commemorate the area's most traumatic day of WW2... Tuesday 21st May at 7:30pm: “The 1943 ‘Hit and Run’ raid on Bournemouth” - a talk by John Cresswell. To mark the 70th Anniversary of the most devastating of the raids on Bournemouth during the last war. John saw the bombers on that fateful day and is currently researching Bournemouth’s Civil Defence. Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th May; open 10:00am to 4:00pm each day: “The Bombing of the Hotel Metropole 1943” - SPECIAL EXHIBITION. On 23rd May 1943 24 FW190s made a lightning raid on Bournemouth, killing hundreds of airmen and civilians. The BNSS premises (which was the ARP Post dealing with the incident) will be displaying photographs and other material. EVERYONE WELCOME - just turn up! Please leave a small donation to help support our activities. Why not become a member of our Society? - donations and member subscriptions are vital for our future survival. Hope to see you there! Bournemouth Natural Science Society 39 Christchurch Road, BH13NS www.bnss.org.uk https://www.facebook .com/BournemouthNatu ralScienceSociety BNSS_39
  • Score: 0

10:17am Sat 18 May 13

elite50 says...

I remember that day.
I was sitting with my mother on the inside stairs of our flat in Moordown as the planes flew across.
The sirens were howling and my mother was crying.
I was 3 years old, it is my first memory. It still seems like yesterday, it is so clear.
R.I.P.
I remember that day. I was sitting with my mother on the inside stairs of our flat in Moordown as the planes flew across. The sirens were howling and my mother was crying. I was 3 years old, it is my first memory. It still seems like yesterday, it is so clear. R.I.P. elite50
  • Score: 0

10:40am Sat 18 May 13

Lord Spring says...

As a slightly wounded survivor not just a witness, I realize the actual location of the memorial is only a few square yards but can not Lansdowne Crescent be closed to traffic for half an hour that would accommodate us yokels who experienced the event.
As a slightly wounded survivor not just a witness, I realize the actual location of the memorial is only a few square yards but can not Lansdowne Crescent be closed to traffic for half an hour that would accommodate us yokels who experienced the event. Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

10:59am Sat 18 May 13

Capricorn 1 says...

It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.
It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII. Capricorn 1
  • Score: 0

11:55am Sat 18 May 13

Lord Spring says...

Capricorn 1 wrote:
It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.
But the Sally Ann was with their mobile canteens, bet Elfin lot would have been checking them.
[quote][p][bold]Capricorn 1[/bold] wrote: It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.[/p][/quote]But the Sally Ann was with their mobile canteens, bet Elfin lot would have been checking them. Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

12:06pm Sat 18 May 13

muscliffman says...

My late mother and her best friend survived this incident when they threw themselves behind the college walls opposite - just after leaving the Hotel.

If the bombs had landed only a few seconds earlier I would probably not be writing this!

RIP all.
My late mother and her best friend survived this incident when they threw themselves behind the college walls opposite - just after leaving the Hotel. If the bombs had landed only a few seconds earlier I would probably not be writing this! RIP all. muscliffman
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Sat 18 May 13

BoscombeWarLord says...

Why can't Holdenhurst Rd be closed off for an hour or so from Abbey Life to the Lansdowne roundabout. It's a bit short sighted putting up a long overdue memorial but restricting people wanting to pay their respects. Where is the sense of solemnity?

The council are adept at closing roads for endless roadworks. Sadly when it comes to remembering those killed by enemy combatants, they simply can't be bothered to do the job properly.

Half ar5ed as usual from Bournemouth Council. Sort it out councilors!
Why can't Holdenhurst Rd be closed off for an hour or so from Abbey Life to the Lansdowne roundabout. It's a bit short sighted putting up a long overdue memorial but restricting people wanting to pay their respects. Where is the sense of solemnity? The council are adept at closing roads for endless roadworks. Sadly when it comes to remembering those killed by enemy combatants, they simply can't be bothered to do the job properly. Half ar5ed as usual from Bournemouth Council. Sort it out councilors! BoscombeWarLord
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Sat 18 May 13

oneshortleg says...

Another excellent public relations mess caused by the council!
Another excellent public relations mess caused by the council! oneshortleg
  • Score: 0

4:06pm Sat 18 May 13

AnastasiaB says...

oneshortleg wrote:
Another excellent public relations mess caused by the council!
Once again Bournemouth Council has not thought about the people of Bournemouth. I blame the Officers who organised it for not arranging something bigger for this important event in the town's history. If spending money was the excuse maybe they should spend less on some other pointless events they organise. Remembering the past is important.
[quote][p][bold]oneshortleg[/bold] wrote: Another excellent public relations mess caused by the council![/p][/quote]Once again Bournemouth Council has not thought about the people of Bournemouth. I blame the Officers who organised it for not arranging something bigger for this important event in the town's history. If spending money was the excuse maybe they should spend less on some other pointless events they organise. Remembering the past is important. AnastasiaB
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Sat 18 May 13

Bob49 says...

Capricorn 1 wrote:
It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.
Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now.

As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror.

I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess.
[quote][p][bold]Capricorn 1[/bold] wrote: It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.[/p][/quote]Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now. As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror. I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess. Bob49
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Sat 18 May 13

muscliffman says...

Bob49 wrote:
Capricorn 1 wrote:
It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.
Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now.

As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror.

I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess.
If the current mind set had been in the public sector back in the day when this bomb fell, be in no doubt Holdenhurst Road and the Lansdowne would probably still be closed now and remain full of people standing around in high-viz jackets doing risk assessments!
[quote][p][bold]Bob49[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Capricorn 1[/bold] wrote: It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.[/p][/quote]Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now. As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror. I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess.[/p][/quote]If the current mind set had been in the public sector back in the day when this bomb fell, be in no doubt Holdenhurst Road and the Lansdowne would probably still be closed now and remain full of people standing around in high-viz jackets doing risk assessments! muscliffman
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Sat 18 May 13

Yankee1 says...

Why stay away?

Turn up if you are so moved; demand your rights; and see what happens.

Extraordinary nonsense from some 'portfolio holder'. Our grandparents would tell us to get up and do it! They did. The greatest generation.
Why stay away? Turn up if you are so moved; demand your rights; and see what happens. Extraordinary nonsense from some 'portfolio holder'. Our grandparents would tell us to get up and do it! They did. The greatest generation. Yankee1
  • Score: 0

9:03pm Sat 18 May 13

Lord Spring says...

And why the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset it happened in Hampshire
And why the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset it happened in Hampshire Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

12:20am Sun 19 May 13

Bob49 says...

muscliffman wrote:
Bob49 wrote:
Capricorn 1 wrote:
It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.
Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now.

As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror.

I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess.
If the current mind set had been in the public sector back in the day when this bomb fell, be in no doubt Holdenhurst Road and the Lansdowne would probably still be closed now and remain full of people standing around in high-viz jackets doing risk assessments!
It is about remembering those killed, not another convenient peg for you to hang your vacuous Daily Mail bleats upon.

Shame on you.
[quote][p][bold]muscliffman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bob49[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Capricorn 1[/bold] wrote: It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.[/p][/quote]Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now. As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror. I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess.[/p][/quote]If the current mind set had been in the public sector back in the day when this bomb fell, be in no doubt Holdenhurst Road and the Lansdowne would probably still be closed now and remain full of people standing around in high-viz jackets doing risk assessments![/p][/quote]It is about remembering those killed, not another convenient peg for you to hang your vacuous Daily Mail bleats upon. Shame on you. Bob49
  • Score: 0

12:34am Sun 19 May 13

JonCris says...

Just another jolly for the toffs. To hell with those who actually did anything on that day. Politicians & their minions should be shot
Just another jolly for the toffs. To hell with those who actually did anything on that day. Politicians & their minions should be shot JonCris
  • Score: 0

10:11am Sun 19 May 13

Frogmarch2 says...

Can anyone tell me where the Canadian servicemen who sadly lost their lives when this bomb fell are buried please? I have often wondered. It would be nice to be able to pay ones respects at a resting place.
Can anyone tell me where the Canadian servicemen who sadly lost their lives when this bomb fell are buried please? I have often wondered. It would be nice to be able to pay ones respects at a resting place. Frogmarch2
  • Score: 0

11:13am Sun 19 May 13

Tictock says...

Bhooo Hooo Bournemouth Council for TRYING to restrict this event. One would hope the war time spirit would prevail and Joe Public would just turn up anyway.
Bhooo Hooo Bournemouth Council for TRYING to restrict this event. One would hope the war time spirit would prevail and Joe Public would just turn up anyway. Tictock
  • Score: 0

11:29am Sun 19 May 13

Myndon52 says...

Frogmarch2 wrote:
Can anyone tell me where the Canadian servicemen who sadly lost their lives when this bomb fell are buried please? I have often wondered. It would be nice to be able to pay ones respects at a resting place.
All eleven of them are buried in the military section of Bournemouth North Cemetery, at Strouden Avenue. All seven of those who died from the Royal Australian Air Force are also there, as are four from the RAF and a Royal Marine.

The military section is on the right-hand side as you go in at the main gate; ask at the cemetery office if you have any problems finding it or want to locate a specific grave.
[quote][p][bold]Frogmarch2[/bold] wrote: Can anyone tell me where the Canadian servicemen who sadly lost their lives when this bomb fell are buried please? I have often wondered. It would be nice to be able to pay ones respects at a resting place.[/p][/quote]All eleven of them are buried in the military section of Bournemouth North Cemetery, at Strouden Avenue. All seven of those who died from the Royal Australian Air Force are also there, as are four from the RAF and a Royal Marine. The military section is on the right-hand side as you go in at the main gate; ask at the cemetery office if you have any problems finding it or want to locate a specific grave. Myndon52
  • Score: 0

11:30am Sun 19 May 13

BoscombeWarLord says...

Frogmarch2 wrote:
Can anyone tell me where the Canadian servicemen who sadly lost their lives when this bomb fell are buried please? I have often wondered. It would be nice to be able to pay ones respects at a resting place.
Check out this link. An excellent source of information. It appears that many servicemen were buried in the military plot at Bournemouth North Cemetery.

http://www.rafcomman
ds.com/forum/showthr
ead.php?3668-Attack-
on-the-Hotel-Metropo
le-23-May-1943
[quote][p][bold]Frogmarch2[/bold] wrote: Can anyone tell me where the Canadian servicemen who sadly lost their lives when this bomb fell are buried please? I have often wondered. It would be nice to be able to pay ones respects at a resting place.[/p][/quote]Check out this link. An excellent source of information. It appears that many servicemen were buried in the military plot at Bournemouth North Cemetery. http://www.rafcomman ds.com/forum/showthr ead.php?3668-Attack- on-the-Hotel-Metropo le-23-May-1943 BoscombeWarLord
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Sun 19 May 13

muscliffman says...

Bob49 wrote:
muscliffman wrote:
Bob49 wrote:
Capricorn 1 wrote:
It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.
Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now.

As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror.

I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess.
If the current mind set had been in the public sector back in the day when this bomb fell, be in no doubt Holdenhurst Road and the Lansdowne would probably still be closed now and remain full of people standing around in high-viz jackets doing risk assessments!
It is about remembering those killed, not another convenient peg for you to hang your vacuous Daily Mail bleats upon.

Shame on you.
Wondering if I should credit this with a response, to be frank.

My comment actually built upon the very same points your original had made - but in a more ironic tone and reflecting quite popular feeling.

Not, in contrast to your latest, with any intent to inappropriately score off topic political points, about a national newspaper (why here of all places?) and presumably offend.

Perhaps you may care to read my first original post on here to see why this interests me.
[quote][p][bold]Bob49[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]muscliffman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bob49[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Capricorn 1[/bold] wrote: It's a good job the 'Elf and Safety brigade weren't around during WWII.[/p][/quote]Thare wasn't any 'no then win, no fee' compensation culture so folk didn't need the protection from such people as they do now. As to the council's behaviour it should be shocking but sadly it is not. What better invited guests could they be than those who were involved or directly experienced the horror. I doubt councillors would have insisted on invited guests only when folk pitched in to clear u the mess.[/p][/quote]If the current mind set had been in the public sector back in the day when this bomb fell, be in no doubt Holdenhurst Road and the Lansdowne would probably still be closed now and remain full of people standing around in high-viz jackets doing risk assessments![/p][/quote]It is about remembering those killed, not another convenient peg for you to hang your vacuous Daily Mail bleats upon. Shame on you.[/p][/quote]Wondering if I should credit this with a response, to be frank. My comment actually built upon the very same points your original had made - but in a more ironic tone and reflecting quite popular feeling. Not, in contrast to your latest, with any intent to inappropriately score off topic political points, about a national newspaper (why here of all places?) and presumably offend. Perhaps you may care to read my first original post on here to see why this interests me. muscliffman
  • Score: 0

2:33pm Sun 19 May 13

Lord Spring says...

Let us not forget Bournemouth was not alone chosen on that day as Hastings suffered the fate at that time of day. With a less death toll when the Swan Hotel was hit.

The reasons for these raid were thought to be reprisal raids after the Dam Busting raids the week before
Let us not forget Bournemouth was not alone chosen on that day as Hastings suffered the fate at that time of day. With a less death toll when the Swan Hotel was hit. The reasons for these raid were thought to be reprisal raids after the Dam Busting raids the week before Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

9:32pm Sun 19 May 13

Arjay says...

Lord Spring wrote:
Let us not forget Bournemouth was not alone chosen on that day as Hastings suffered the fate at that time of day. With a less death toll when the Swan Hotel was hit.

The reasons for these raid were thought to be reprisal raids after the Dam Busting raids the week before
Although I can see it might make for a good 'story', I have my doubts about any direct connection with the Dambusters raid......

Chris Goss, in his excellent book 'Luftwaffe Fighter Bombers over Britain - The Tip and Run Campaign 1942-43' has described in great detail the history of the whole campaign of 'terror' raids made against many south coast towns, during this middle period of the war.
The Bournemouth ( and Hastings ) raids were only two of some 65 such raids, made during the first 6 months of 1943.
I have my doubts that the Bournemouth raid was specifically planned as a direct reprisal for the Dambusters raid.
In fact of course by that stage of the war, these quick 'in and out raids' by fighter bombers were essentially the only effective means left to the Luftwaffe to strike at the UK directly.
The Germans had no 4 engine bombers, and the improved home defensive measures ensured that the 2 engine bombers of the earlier 'blitz' period had become largely ineffective....
[quote][p][bold]Lord Spring[/bold] wrote: Let us not forget Bournemouth was not alone chosen on that day as Hastings suffered the fate at that time of day. With a less death toll when the Swan Hotel was hit. The reasons for these raid were thought to be reprisal raids after the Dam Busting raids the week before[/p][/quote]Although I can see it might make for a good 'story', I have my doubts about any direct connection with the Dambusters raid...... Chris Goss, in his excellent book 'Luftwaffe Fighter Bombers over Britain - The Tip and Run Campaign 1942-43' has described in great detail the history of the whole campaign of 'terror' raids made against many south coast towns, during this middle period of the war. The Bournemouth ( and Hastings ) raids were only two of some 65 such raids, made during the first 6 months of 1943. I have my doubts that the Bournemouth raid was specifically planned as a direct reprisal for the Dambusters raid. In fact of course by that stage of the war, these quick 'in and out raids' by fighter bombers were essentially the only effective means left to the Luftwaffe to strike at the UK directly. The Germans had no 4 engine bombers, and the improved home defensive measures ensured that the 2 engine bombers of the earlier 'blitz' period had become largely ineffective.... Arjay
  • Score: 0

9:40pm Mon 20 May 13

Wageslave says...

If no-one turned up it would look like the people of Bournemouth are not bothered.Come and support the survivors ,wave your flags and stuff the council. SEE YOU THERE
If no-one turned up it would look like the people of Bournemouth are not bothered.Come and support the survivors ,wave your flags and stuff the council. SEE YOU THERE Wageslave
  • Score: 0

9:37pm Tue 21 May 13

JCB@@@ says...

Does anyone know what time this event takes place? My mother was there and her father saved some of the service men from the metropole...she would like to be there too.
Does anyone know what time this event takes place? My mother was there and her father saved some of the service men from the metropole...she would like to be there too. JCB@@@
  • Score: 0

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