A plaque is to be unveiled at a special ceremony next month commemorating the people killed when a lone German WW2 plane dropped four bombs in Reading town centre. The simple stone plaque will mark the 70th anniversary of the attack which happened on Wednesday February 10, 1943, killing 41 people and injuring 150 others. The devastation could have been a lot worse had it not been for the fact that it was half-day closing and many shops were empty. Many of those killed had been in The People’s Pantry, a restaurant just opposite the Town Hall.
Tilehurst British Legion member Brian Lewendon, who was nine when the bombings happened, launched a petition last year asking the council to arrange for a plaque to be erected; and his campaign secured all party support from councillors.
On Sunday, February 10, 2013, there will be a short service in the Town Hall, led by Rev Canon Brian Shenton, before the unveiling of the plaque takes place. All are welcome to attend.
Jo Lovelock, leader of Reading Borough Council, said: “I’m very pleased we are able to have this permanent reminder of the people who lost their lives and I’m sure their families appreciate this lasting mark of respect. There must be many local people who remember that dreadful day and we welcome them, and their families, to come and join us for the service and unveiling.
“I would like to thank funeral directors AB Walkers who have generously donated the memorial plaque and Blandy & Blandy LLP who have given permission for the plaque to be erected on their building on Town Hall Square (No 1 Friar Street).”
Simon Dimmick, senior partner at Blandy & Blandy, commented: “This commemoration will be a very significant day for the Reading community and for the history of this firm. There will be a number of people attending, who were there and survived it together with families of those who died. We lost a valued member of staff that day.”
The service at the Town Hall starts at 2pm and there will be light refreshments after the unveiling.
Reading Museum, next to the Town Hall, is staging an exhibition about the bombing raid. The exhibition will feature objects including a marble finger tip belonging to the Queen Victoria statue in Town Hall Square found among the wreckage of the raid. As the bomber made his escape his machine gun opened fire over Caversham and a bullet retrieved from Caversham Primary School is also on show.
The exhibition is free and runs until March 3.
Photo: Blandy & Blandy office and St Laurence Church 1943 ©Reading Museum/Reading Borough Council. All Rights Reserved.