De Havilland shop 94

De Havilland Shop 94 after the bomb hit
Civilian War Dear Roll of Honour
Westminster Abbey

De Havilland shop 94 was so named as it was used for the production of the DH 94, the Moth Minor aircraft, which was a light civil monoplane designed for the businessman.

The Moth series of planes were of wooden construction, De Havillands being the experts, but during the time of the Second World War, they were nolonger producing the Moth Minor DH 94, they had switched to the DH 98, the Mosquito, which was to be a war plane.

On the morning of 3 October 1940 the 94 shop was to experience a tragedy.

That day the weather was atrocious, very low damp fog everywhere, so there was no flying from the airfield, all aircraft, test pilots, RAF Tiger Moth trainers and Air Transport Auxiliary were grounded and inside the hangers with the door closed, but an aircraft had been seen flying very low over the factory at about 11.30 that morning. It came from an easterly direction at tree top height and was assumed to be a British Bomber but which was identified by a witness as having German markings on it’s tail and being a Ju 88.

No air raid warnings were sounded in the area and the lookout post on the top of the factory, which was manned all the time, would hear the noise of an aircraft but would not be able to spot it, unless it was very close and very low. The aircraft disappeared in a north-easterly direction, coming back over the airfiled five – ten minutes later, appearing again from a south easterly direction but this time with its bomb doors open and at a height of about 100 feet.

The “take Cover” klaxon was sounded, about three minutes after the plane was spotted as the roof spotters may well have also mistakenly taken it as a Britich bomber.

Four stick bombs were dropped on to the grass airfield, they bounced into the factory workshop, exploding into fragments, killing 21 men and seriously injuring many more.

There were air raid shelters built within the factory to enable some form of immediate cover and duggouts below ground outside the factory, but the warning was probably too late for some of these men to take cover.

The De Havilland shop 94 was a direct hit, it was completely demolished, along with 80 per cent of the materials already assembled of the new DH 98 Mosquito, the Technical School in an adjacent building was put completely out of action.

The scene that was found by resue teams was described as being large fires, smoke, debris and lumps of concrete everywhere. A shelter inside the building, being built of single brick supporting a concrete roof had collapsed killing all those inside. Others had sought out shelter under benches but to no avail.

The Ju 88 plane was firing its machine guns and the ground personel were returning fire using their Light Anti-Aircraft guns, the plane must of been hit as it was seen with the starboard engine trailing a three-to-five yard long flame travelling towards Hertford, gradually losing height.

Seen by a police officer, who picked up four men with rifes, he gave chase. They found the Ju 88 crash landed in in a field on high ground at East End Green Farm, near Cole green. It had skidded to the left and was still burning when they arrived. Through a gap in a hedge they found the four German airmen sitting on the bank of a ditch, on seeing the police officer they stood up. They were unharmed and not armed with weapons, but they were wearing their uniforms.

The pilot, Oberleutenant Siegward Fiebig and his three crew members, Oberfeldwebel Erich Goebel, Fw. H Ruthof and Uffz K Seifter were taken to police stations in the area, the pilot and gunner going to Hatfield and the other two were taken to Hertford, eventually being taken away by two gentlemen from an intelligence unit at Cambridge.

The German pilot told how his target was in the vicinity of Reading, but due to the bad weather the pilot got lost and was hit by the Anti-aircraft machine guns that were stationed at Roe Green. Not wishing to crash land with his payload of bombs, he jettisoned them, unfortunately over the De Havilland airfield. There was also talk that the pilot at one time had been employed at De Havillands before the war.

The casualties from the De havilland airfield were taken by ARP ambulance to Hatfield Police Station, they could not take all the bodies and had to resort to other places of accommodation within the station, such as the canteen floor. A group of men, who were together in discussion at the time the bombs fell, were unrecognisable, so they were all buried together, as they could not be parted, at St Luke’s Church and a commemorative memorial was placed on their grave.

The details of the men who lost their lives that day are:

Civilian Horace Frederick George Allen

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 37

Civilian War Dead

Husband of Gladys Irene Allen, of 9 Broadfield Place, Welwyn Garden City. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Frank Joseph Arlidge

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 50

Civilian War Dead

Husband of Gertrude Grace Arlidge, of 25 Rondini Avenue, Luton, Bedfordshire. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Jack Eric Bowles

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 26

Civilian War Dead

of 44 Kirwood Avenue, St. Albans. Son of Frederick Percy and Sarah Bowles, of 11 Hitchin Road, Upper Caldecote, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire; husband of Elsie Bowles. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Henry Herbert Stacey Bush

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 35

Civilian War Dead

of 4 Rodney Court, Hatfield. Husband of Edith G. Bush. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Richard Hockley Collom

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 33

Civilian War Dead

Son of Mrs. Bowyer (formerly Collom), of Brick Lane, Enfield, Middlesex, and of the late R. H. Collom; husband of V. M. Collom, of 6 Heronswood Road, Welwyn Garden City. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Owen Kendall Dawson

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 51

Civilian War Dead

Husband of Elsie May Dawson, of 10 Heathcote Avenue, Hatfield. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian William James Cuffley Easter

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 24

Civilian War Dead

of 30 Regal Court, Edmonton, Middlesex. Son of Mrs. Coe (formerly Easter), of 28 Tilson Road, Tottenham, Middlesex, and of the late G. Easter; husband of V. Easter. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome. Hatfield.

Civilian Cecil Harry Fordham

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 34

Civilian War Dead

of 4 St. Albans Road, Hatfield. Husband of Irene Fordham. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Alfred Leonard Gibb

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 19

Civilian War Dead

Son of Mr. W. A. Gibbins, of 10 Ashley Road, St. Albans. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Frederick William Gibbs

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 24

Civilian War Dead

of 173 Harringay Road, West Green Road, Tottenham, Middlesex. Husband of Irene Gibbs. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian William Edward Harrod

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 49

Civilian War Dead

of 54 Corbyn Street, Finsbury Park, London. Husband of Vera Harrod. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome. Hatfield.

Civilian Frederick Hartley

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 27

Civilian War Dead

of 12 Brinkburn Close, Stag Lane, Edgware, Middlesex. Husband of Eva Hartley. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome. Hatfield.

Civilian Eric Reginald Henry

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 32

Civilian War Dead

Husband of R. Henry, of 3 Roestock Gardens, Colney Heath. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Charles Norfolk

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 28

Civilian War Dead

of 85 Briar Road, Watford. Son of John and Hannah Norfolk, of 34 Manisty Terrace, Easington Colliery, Co. Durham; husband of Doris Elizabeth Norfolk. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Reginald Parry

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 29

Civilian War Dead

Section Leader, Works Fire Brigade. Husband of Nesta A. Parry, of 46 Park View Crescent, New Southgate, Middlesex. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Ernest Frederick Pretty

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 18

Civilian War Dead

Son of A. W. and F. M. Pretty, of 103 Chalfont Road, Edmonton, Middlesex. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Anthony James Scott

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 19

Civilian War Dead

Son of Capt. the Hon. Denys Scott, and Lillis Scott, of The Holt, Appledore, North Devon. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian William James Geddes Sim

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 41

Civilian War Dead

of 17 Selwyn Crescent, Hatfield. Son of the late Mr. and Mrs. N. J. Sim, of Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome Hatfield.

Civilian John Holmes Smith

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 26

Civilian War Dead

Son of Lizzie Smith, of 123 Runley Road, Luton, Bedfordshire. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

Civilian Lionel Alfred Toop

Died 03/10/1940

Aged 38

Civilian War Dead

Husband of A. G. Toop, of 90 Billy Low’s Lane, Potter’s Bar, Middlesex. Died at De Havilland’s Aerodrome, Hatfield.

May they Rest in Peace

There is a chapter “Born among the bomb” in the book The Mosquito Log, by Alexander McKee which gives more detail and eyewitness accounts of what happened that night and also information in Hatfield at War by Brian G Lawrence

The details of the casualties was found on the Commonwealth War graves Commissiom website. This site records the memorials of those who died in both world wars, but in the Second World War, they also recorded civilians who died due to the bombing raids.

This information is taken from the memorial books at Westminster Abbey in London

By a supplemental charter dated 7th February 1941 the Imperial War Graves Commission was empowered to collect and record the names of civilians who died from enemy action during World War II. Using information supplied by the Registrar-General and local authorities an initial list of 43,000 names was compiled covering just the period of the Battle of Britain in 1940 and the big air raids of 1940-1941. In 1942 this was made available to the public for consultation and comment. An understanding that the Roll should eventually be placed in Westminster Abbey was reached with the Dean and Chapter at about this time, but it was decided that this should not happen until the list had been made complete at the end of hostilities. The first six volumes were handed over to the Dean and Chapter by The Duke of Gloucester, President of the Imperial War Graves Commission, at a short ceremony in the Jerusalem Chamber (part of the Deanery) on 21st February 1956; the final volume was added to the showcase in 1958.

The Roll

The Roll consists of seven leather-bound volumes containing printed details of 66,375 fatalities. Entries are not arranged chronologically but by county, and within county by local government areas (many of which have changed since 1945). The lists are then alphabetical by surname and give details of the residential address, place of death and family relationship (e.g., “wife of…”, “son of…”). One volume covers deaths on board ship and deaths abroad (including civilian deaths in prison camps). This volume also has addenda for the whole Roll.

The books are kept just outside the entrance to St George’s Chapel at the west end of Westminster Abbey. One volume is always open on display and pages are turned periodically.

At the service on 23rd May 2017 to mark the centenary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission two supplementary books were processed through the Abbey and presented to the Dean at the High Altar. These contain several hundred new names, many of them who died overseas, uncovered by recent research, who had been missed from the original listings.

 

 

This page was added on 16/09/2019.

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *