1944 - Last Air Raid
15th July. The last serious raid on Portsmouth when a V.1. (Dooglebug) crashes in Newcomen Rd., Stamshaw. Brian Patterson was a small boy attending Stamshaw school at this time and one of his friends was killed in this air raid. All the school pupils collected their half-pennies and farthings and bought a framed picture of Christ knocking at the door. It was mounted in the main hall of the school with a candle that was always alight, for all the children that had died in the town.
It is worth now to reflect on the implications of the German bombing campaign on the Dockyard which involved the City.
There were 1581 Air Raid alerts which caused disruption of work and loss of sleep. 67 major air raids in which most of the damage to the City and Dockyard occurred.
Bombs were recorded that fell on to the City. Many hundreds more fell into the harbour and surrounding sea and were not recorded.
1320 heavy High Explosive bombs.
38 parachute land mines.
Since the end of the war many bombs have been discovered during building work in the City or have been dredge up in the harbour or basins of the Dockyard.
Casualties not counting service personnel.
930 killed. 2837 injured. Many with minor injuries were treated by local G.P.’s and were not recorded.
Damage inflicted (excluding building within government establishments such as the Dockyard);
6625 properties totally destroyed.
6549 properties seriously damaged.
68,886 properties slightly damaged.
24,000 Anderson Shelters were built in Portsmouth mainly in dwelling house gardens.
3,200 brick shelters were built in gardens where the water table was too high to permit Anderson shelters to be built.
800 basements to building were strengthened to form an air raid shelter.
A Community shelter was built for 5,000 people.
Civilian population. At the height of the bombing campaign over 8000 civilians were employed in Air Raid Precaution (ARP) work such as civil defence, fire watch, look-outs, air raid wardens, first aid or red cross, ambulance service, rescue parties, welfare services and WVS, Headquarter and messenger service, Auxiliary fire service etc. This does not include the Home Guard which in Portsmouth by 1944 had strength of 5,400 officers and men. All the above duties were over and above the individual’s normal work.