Thursday, 17 January 2013

Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Reading #rdg

Council press release:
A plaque commemorating the people killed when a lone German WW2 plane dropped four bombs in Reading town centre is to be unveiled at a special ceremony next month.

The simple stone plaque will mark the 70th anniversary of the attack which happened on Wednesday February 10th 1943, killing 41 people and injuring 150 others. The devastation could have been a lot worse had it not been for the fact 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.

Before the unveiling ceremony on Sunday 10 February, 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.

Council Leader, Cllr Jo Lovelock, 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 & Monumental Masons A B Walker & Son Ltd 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). '

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 featuring objects like a marble finger tip which belonged to the Queen Victoria statue in Town Hall Square which was 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 3 March.