Globe bombing relived as 75 years approaches

Ralph and Iris Stanley
Ralph and Iris Stanley
  • A bomb fell in Abbey End in 1940, killing 26 people
  • A town memorial service will be held on November 21 to remember those who died
  • Relatives and friends of those killed, and survivors, are called to take part and tell their stories

Survivors and relatives of those killed when a bomb partially flattened Abbey End have told their stories in support of a memorial 75 years later.

Ralph Stanley was just 10 years old when the Globe Hotel was destroyed by a falling landmine in November, 1940 and 26 people were killed.

The Stanley Family. Ralph Stanley (far left) and his brother James (bottom right) both survived the blast.

The Stanley Family. Ralph Stanley (far left) and his brother James (bottom right) both survived the blast.

Despite privately marking the anniversary with his family each year, he said it is vital the event is not forgotten as the town prepares to mark the milestone anniversary.

Looking back to the day when he could have lost his life, the grandfather said he and his parents, Ralph and Margaret Stanley, joined scores of Coventry families who were taken in at the hotel to escape bombings in the city.

After spending a short time huddled on the floor of the dance hall, which James Stanley - Ralph’s uncle and owner of the inn - opened up to families, they returned home.

But they headed back to the hotel just days later when the devastation hit, said the grandfather who is eager to share his story.

We will certainly be going to the anniversary, it is sad that more is not done every year. This is a memory for a lot of people and it is important to remember

Iris Stanley

The 85-year-old said: “The place was full of people, there were blankets laid out all over the floor. Bombing in Coventry had got so bad people just wanted to get away.

“When we returned for the second time our space had been taken so we found a place at the top of the stairs.

“I don’t remember much after that, but I remember seeing the bricks come away from the mortar and falling down on me when the landmine fell. “We didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, all we knew is that we were buried.

“The people who had taken our original space were completely flattened. Everybody down there was.

Abbey End

Abbey End

“The next thing I remember is my father coming to get us out. I don’t know how long it all lasted but it seemed like hours. I can still see the bricks, it’s such a vivid memory.”

He said his life was later saved by his mother who shielded him from a falling beam which could easily have crushed him.

His father and mother escaped, as did his uncle James. But Roy’s cousin Ralph who was on leave from the RAF, was killed along with 25 others - mostly those of who had been seeking refuge from Coventry.

Their names were engraved on a plaque and several memorial events have been held since. The latest will run on November 21 where the 75th anniversary of the attack will be marked by survivors and family of those killed.

Roy, who now lives in Burton Green with his wife Iris, said they are delighted that a town ceremony is to run.

Iris Stanley said: “We will certainly be going to the anniversary, it is sad that more is not done every year. This is a memory for a lot of people and it is important to remember.”

Tony Collett will also come to pay his respects in November in memory of his grandmother Sarah Huff Collett who was killed by shrapnel in a blast six days before.

He said the family gathers to mark the anniversary each year, and are delighted to be part of the November commemoration in Abbey End.

“My grandmother was killed when falling shrapnel hit in Arthur Street,” he said.

“We are very much behind this civilian event, these dates should not be forgotten.”

Anyone connected to those killed can contact the town council on 859155.