Warwick Rotarians joined by guests to learn about the night Coventry was bombed in WW2

The Warwick Rotary Club recent hosted a dinner where they and their guests learnt about the night Coventry was bombed in the Second World War.

Sunday, 3rd November 2019, 11:45 am

The club was joined by more than 70 people including from neighbouring clubs to hear about the night of November 14 1940.

Mike Bunn of Friends of Coventry Cathedral gave a presentation using personal accounts from the firefighters of surrounding towns who came to help, and showed archive photographs.

More than 500 German bombers took part in the overnight raid on Coventry in a bid to destroy it’s factories.

Mike Bunn of Friends of Coventry Cathedral with Warwick Rotary President David Brai. Photo submitted.

The firebombing left the city centre in ruins with only the spire and shell of the cathedral of St Michael surviving. About 568 were killed with thousands left homeless, 4,000 houses were destroyed, and three quarters of the manufacturing premises.

100,000 Coventry folk abandoned the city on foot that night as the fire took hold. The flames could be seen from Rugby and Birmingham as it was a clear moonlit night.

One guest living in Barford recalled seeing the glow in the sky and helped re-home evacuees there. At the time all people were told was that a “Midlands city” had been badly damaged.

The raid on Coventry was the most concentrated air raid of the Second World War. Winston Churchill and the King visited the ruins of the city to see the devastation.

Winston Churchill visiting Coventry after the bombing. Photo submitted.

After the war Coventry worked hard to build a city of peace. It first twinned with Stalingrad, in Russia, then later with Dresden, in Germany, and the new Coventry Cathedral, built alongside the ruins of its predecessor, is a world centre for reconciliation.

Amongst the audience was a lady whose father had been an ARP Air Raid Precaution officer actually on the cathedral roof during the raid and showed the audience a cartoon sketch of her father and hose pipe.

She was encouraged to show this to the Friends of Cathedral who have an exhibition of memorabilia of that night.

Thanking Mike Bunn for his talk Warwick Rotary President David Brain presented him with a cheque for the “Friends” work of conservation.