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The air raid on Church Square

During the second World War, the biggest raid on Basingstoke came on the 16th of August 1940. The German bombers Get your head downdescended on the town at around the time that most people were leaving work, at the end of the working day. The bombs fell on the area around Church Square and Church Lane, at the time, the Luftwaffe were under orders to attack churches. It is not known if this is why the area was attacked, or if the proximity of the area to the railway lines was the reason, but a large number of deaths  and injuries occurred.

  Church Most bombs fell between St Michaels Church and the Methodist Church, badly damaging both churches. Only one window remained intact in St Michaels Church and the Methodist Church had to undergo extensive restoration. One man was beheaded by the bombs whilst riding his motorbike and sidecar in the area, his passenger was largely untouched, receiving just a slight scar to his chest.

   At the time of the bombing, an uncle of mine, lived in Ambulance the area and remembered being in the back garden, talking to the woman who lived next door. My uncle sighted the bombers coming over, and shouted to the nieghbour to get indoors. He dived inside and under the kitchen table just in time, as a bomb exploded. The exterior walls of the house withstood the blast, but most of the interior walls collapsed. He was saved from injury by the table, but when he emerged he found that the neighbour hadn't been so lucky. She had been machine gunned by one of the planes and was found dead in the back garden.