Kenilworth funeral directors donate headstone to remember lost souls of Abbey End landmine explosion

The gravestone commemorating the lost souls of the Abbey End landmine explosion in Oaks Road Cemetery
The gravestone commemorating the lost souls of the Abbey End landmine explosion in Oaks Road Cemetery

A Kenilworth funeral directors has allowed a gravestone to be used for free to commemorate the unknown victims of the Abbey End landmine explosion 76 years ago.

26 people died in the explosion on November 21, 1940, and a special service commemorating the victims was held last year.

Since then, the town council were looking for a suitable gravestone for the victims who died but remained unidentified after the explosion, and have laid in an unmarked grave since that time.

Cllr Pat Cain approached John Taylor Funeral Services in Kenilworth for a quote, but they then offered to make it for free. She said she and the rest of the council were ‘over the moon’ after their offer.

Colin Millington, the funeral home manager of John Taylor Funeral Service in Warwick Road, said he and his staff felt it was the right thing to do for Kenilworth.

He added: “The idea came about from the staff in the Kenilworth office who thought it would be a nice gesture.

“We decided to do it as we’re part of the local community in Kenilworth and we wanted to give something back - it seemed quite apt during this time of remembrance.

“I gave it the all clear for it to be made for free but it was a collective decision. I don’t want to take all the credit for it.

“We don’t really like to shout this sort of thing from the rooftops but we thought it would be a nice thing to do.”

Kenilworth mayor Cllr Richard Davies will lay a wreath in the flower garden in Abbey End on Monday November 21, and on Tuesday November 22 at 11am he will also attend a blessing of the new gravestone in Oaks Road cemetery.

It is thought that the landmine, dropped by a German plane as part of the Second World War, was not intended for Kenilworth, but for Birmingham.

Coventry was undergoing heavy bombing by German planes due to the city being a very important industrial centre for the country’s war effort.

Many of the victims were sheltering inside the Globe Hotel and in nearby buildings.