Home » Anniversary of World War II bombing tragedy

Anniversary of World War II bombing tragedy

THE BLITZ of 7th – 9th MAY 1941 saw the heaviest bombing raids in the area of the second world war. By the 9th May twelve people had been killed in Hedon…

THE 7th – 9th MAY 1941 saw heaviest bombing raids on Hull during the second world war. During three nights of bombing, there were 1,200 casualties and 420 people killed.

Hedon was also bombed and on the night of 8th May 1941 two houses, Ashley Villas and Daisy Villas, on Magdalen Lane were destroyed and twelve people killed, seven of them from the same family.

Those killed in the bombing raid that night, were:

Ashley Villas

Ellen Pricilla Ellerton age 54
Josephine Mary Ellerton age 26
Muriel French age 38
John Richard French age 9
Lucy Jubilee Lear age 44

Daisy Villas

Ernest John Spicer age 45
Vida May Spicer age 44
Lance Corporal Norman Spicer age 23
Joan Spicer age 22
Delma Spicer age 14
Geoffrey Spicer age 10
Edward Spicer age 6

The tragic fate of the Spicer family is perhaps one of the worst ever recorded of any family in the town. Two of the family members Norman and Delma were not at the family home, Daisy Villas, the night before the Magdalen Lane bombing. Norman, who was on leave from the Royal Engineers, was visiting his friend in Preston. Apparently, Norman had been invited to stop another night but opted to go home and so was caught up in the tragedy. Delma had also spent the night before the bombing at a friend’s house.

There was one survivor of the bombing, Jack Spicer who was away working driving a lorry when his home was hit. On the family grave however it is reported that Jack too died only two years later in February 1943 aged 22.

Crosby gravestone memorial Spicer Family
Spicer Family Grave at Crosby Cemetery – Photo Peter Batty

The family was buried in their town of origin Scunthorpe at Crosby Cemetery. This picture of the gravestone was taken in 2012 by Peter Batty. At that point it was obviously in a state of neglect and had even been vandalised.

The family is, however, commemorated in a Memorial Tribute created by Muriel Scudamore and Julie Marshall which is currently hung in the Hedon Town Hall. This follows a campaign by Mr Don Faley supported by Jim Lindop to commemorate all those Hedon residents killed by enemy action in the town during World War II.

The Hedon Blog has tried to capture information on this tragic incident from several sources, we have linked together the Blog entries under the heading Memorial Tribute. The comments in Memorial Tribute to Hedon’s air raid victims, are especially interesting.

But we have also received many emails and telephone calls over the last three years about this issue for which we are extremely grateful. They have given much additional information and also memories of that time in 1941.

With thanks in particular to Peter Batty, Geoff Ducker, Peter Robson, Jim Uney and James Bagnall.

Don Faley- cu on Memorial Tribute
Memorial Tribute: This photo taken through glass on the day it was formally presented to the Mayor of Hedon Cllr Jim Lindop by Don Faley on Remembrance Sunday 2013. Currently hung in Hedon Town Hall.

6 thoughts on “Anniversary of World War II bombing tragedy

    1. It would have been appropriate if The Hedon Town Council could have arranged an outside service to commemorate these sad events which happened seventy five years ago, possibly held on the open grassed area on Magdalen Lane near Watson Drive, which is near the scene of the actual bombed area. Regards, Jim Uney….

  1. There’s lots we still don’t know – such as how Jack Spicer died in 1943.

    It’s also believed that there was a survivor from Ashley Villas – apparently Mr Ellerton, husband of Ellen and father of Josephine, was blown into the toilet by the blast, but survived.

    And did Muriel French have a husband nick-named ‘Tiny’, and what happened to him?

    Again – any information from readers much appreciated.

    1. Ray,
      Jack Spicer died in Hull Royal Infirmary in February 1943, after a short illness. His resistance level was low after losing his entire family in the air raid in May 1941, when his parents, three brothers and two sisters, were bombed. Jack was out on a run in his lorry at the time.
      Jack, who was 22 years old, formerly worked at Scunthorpe Laundry, but after the outbreak of war he went to Hedon, where he worked for a Mr R Johnson, a haulage contractor.
      Jack was my father’s cousin.
      Tim Clapham

    2. muriel french nee frank was my grandmas cousin she moved to hull during the war with her husband george who was a policeman and by all accounts he was on duty the night of the bombing they had two sons john who was killed and david i do not know what happened to him but if he was there at the time of the bombing he survived my nana(who is aged 100) said they had gone into the cellar of the house.muriel and her son were buried in dean road cemetery scarborough.on the war graves site they were at daisy villas.
      bridget tadman

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