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Map showing area covered.

North-East Diary

Roy Ripley &
Brian Pears
© Copyright Brian Pears 1994-2011


15th/16th May 1943 to
20th May 1943

Saturday, 15th/Sunday, 16th May 1943  N1351

A heavy raid on Sunderland caused much damage and many casualties. The surrounding area also suffered, Seaham Harbour in particular. Propaganda leaflets accompanied the bombs in some instances.

02.00-03.00.. Sunderland.. A heavy attack, widespread damage and many buildings destroyed. A nearby PM badly damaged the premises of Henry Moat and the adjacent Dun Cow Street fire station was slightly damaged. The crater was the largest of any in Sunderland - 99'across and 40'deep.

02.00-03.00.. Sunderland.. Another attack. Flares dropped. IBs hit oil storage tank at T.W. Greenwell& Co, South Dock works. Dock badly damaged and out of use till October. Another serious fire at British Ropes. Third big fire destroyed King's Theatre. Fourth destroyed Avenue Paint Works. (Two weeks later two bombs dropped on Paint Works rubble.

Sunderland.. Full details are given in the table below, the area is briefly covered by the rest of this paragraph.. Alexandra Park - Crowtree Road - Alderson Street - Ennerdale - Azalea Terrace - King's Theatre - Barnard Street - Cleveland Road - Otto Terrace - Laing's - Laburnum Road - Bright Street - Parkside Terrace - Gladstone Street - Cairns Road. Casualties:- seventy-one killed, eighty-two seriously injured and one hundred and forty-three slightly injured. PMs, HEs, firepots and many IBs fell in various parts of the town causing considerable damage.

The following is a complete copy of the ARP report, but times and abbreviations are formatted differently.



At 01.40 on Sunday 16th May 1943, the "Purple" message was received, the Air Raid Warning was sounded at 01.44 and the Air Raid message "White" received at 03.09.

Parachute mines, HE Bombs, firepots and many incendiary bombs were dropped in various parts of the town causing considerable damage to premises and inflicting a large number of casualties both killed and injured.

HOUSES.. It is estimated that 200 houses have been demolished or to be demolished, and 10,000 seriously and slightly damaged. 800 men are engaged on first aid repairs.

FOOD STORES.. The following is a summary of the Food Stores affected:- Demolished.. Seven retailers - three licensed premises - a Brewery - a Cafe. Seriously damaged.. Two retailers - a licensed premises - a factory - a dairy. Slightly damaged.. Two wholesalers - sixty-five retailers - ten licensed premises.

CHURCHES.. Damage was caused to the following Churches and Chapels:- St Maud's Mission, Sea Road - Williamson Terrace PM Chapel - Roker Congregational Church, Roker Baths Rd - Roker Wesleyan Church, Roker Park Road - Bright Street Chapel - Royalty Congregational.

THEATRES.. Serious Damage was done to the King's Theatre, Crowtree Road.

OTHER BUILDINGS.. Other premises and works damaged were:- Young's Garage, Roker - T.W. Greenwell& Co - South Dock - S.P. Austin& Co - J. Dickinson and Sons - British Ropes - Sir James Laing& Sons - Electricity Offices, Dunning St - J.L. Thompson& Sons, North Sands& Manor Quay - Fulwell Transport Depot - Avenue Paint Works - "Fire Queen" and three tugs in the River - Richardson Westgarth& Co.

CASUALTIES.. The total casualties were - seventy killed (eventually reaching seventy-five); seventy-three seriously injured and one hundred and twenty-five slightly injured. All services were fully extended and assistance was received from other Authorities and the Military. Assistance was also given by the Ministry of Information with their loudspeaker vans, and by Rediffusion Ltd., in allowing the Controller to broadcast over their relay system.

MORTUARIES.. Two mortuaries were opened. Seven bodies were identified at St Mark's and fifty at Hallgarth. No corpse remains unidentified.

REST AND FEEDING CENTRES.. The following Rest and Feeding Centres were opened at which 660 people were accommodated and fed:-

BishopwearmouthGreen Terrace.
Chester Road.Chester Road.
Commercial Road.Simpson Street.
Simpson StreetGrange Park.
Plains FarmBarbara Priestman Hall.
Grange ParkCommercial Road.
Dock StreetCarol Street Restaurant.
FulwellSouthwick Restaurant.
 Herrington St Restaurant.

A large number of people were evacuated owing to unexploded bombs, some of which have not yet been cleared. Sections of the Sunderland-Newcastle road and the Sunderland-Durham road were stopped to traffic due to the UXBs. The patients at Monkwearmouth& Southwick Hospital were evacuated on the 17th to Cherry Knowle Hospital and Municipal Hospital owing to a UXB in the vicinity, but this was removed on Tuesday the 18th and the patients returned to the Hospital that day.

ADMINISTRATION CENTRES.. Administration Centres were opened at St Mary's RC School, Bishopwearmouth Church Hall and Monkwearmouth Central School, Swan Street. These centres were opened to give advice to people in bombed areas on Air Raid Damage problems and the staff's were available at the Centres from 11.00 Sunday 16th. Approximately 4,000 enquiries have been made at Monkwearmouth Central and 2,000 at St Mary's and Bishopwearmouth. The following Depts were represented:- Assistance Board - Food Office - National Registration Office - Citizens' Advice Bureau - Searcher Service - Military Assistance Officer - Town Clerk's Office - Billeting Officer - Casualty Bureau - Public Assistance Office - Evacuation Department - Information Centre.

BILLETING.. 1,298 homeless consisting of 550 families on the north side of the River and 678 homeless comprising 230 families on the south side have been found billeting accommodation.

WATER SUPPLY.. Considerable damage was done to water mains in different parts of the town. Repair Gangs worked continuously throughout Sunday the 16th and Monday the 17th. Most of the mains were repaired by Sunday night or early Monday. Three fractures stopped the water supply to a large part of the Roker area and water cartage was commenced at 18.00, Monday and continued until 16.00, Tuesday the 18th when the normal supply to Roker was restored.

ELECTRICITY.. Incendiary Bombs were dropped on the Hylton Road Generating Station but there was no damage. At Dunning Street, incendiary bombs set fire to the offices and stores in which a stock of stationery was destroyed. Damage to EHT feeders interrupted the supply to three Industrial consumers for a short period during non-working hours, but the supply was restored on alternative feeders within one hour. One medium pressure switch gear was lost and two transformers were damaged. In the Fulwell area, fairly extensive damage was caused to the NESCo network and the supply was off for 10 hours 50 minutes. The supply was also interrupted in the Marley Potts and High Southwick areas for 12 hours 15 minutes and 14 hours 15 minutes respectively.

GAS MAINS.. Stoppage of gas was caused in the Roker area by water from a broken water main at the Parkside Terrace incident. About 200 houses were affected. The water was cleared and the supply restored by Tuesday evening the 18th. There was no stoppage of gas supply to Industrial works in any district.

SEWERS.. The main Low Street outfall sewer was seriously damaged for a length of about 25 yards. An overflow has been put into operation discharging into the River. One of the main trunks of the Roker Gill Sewer was fractured for a length of 30 yards in Grantham Road and the work of repair is in progress. Other minor damage was caused to subsidiary sewers.

ARP HEADQUARTERS, "Thornholme", SUNDERLAND. 20th May 1943



 S1FPexField East of Railway and Shields Road
 S5FPuxBetween Newcastle Rd& Railway, S road junction
02.10S7PMexIn field East Railway& North Ambleside Tce.
02.16S8PMexJunction Cairns& Newcastle Rds.
02.18S9HEexJunction Atkinson Rd& Rosedale Tce.1000kg
02.10S10HEuxEast Bk Coley Tce. 50kg
02.15S11PMexFulwell Crossing
02.10S12PMuxGrange Park Avenue, S Side
 S13HE South of Nth Hylton Rd near boundary250kg
02.10S14PMexPlaying Field, Thompson Park?
02.07S16HEexOn Railway east end Westburn Tce.250kg
02.00S17HEexRoker Pk Football Ground. N Stand.500kg
02.00S18HEexFootball Car Park, Grantham Rd500kg
02.00S19HEexCar Park, east end Park.250kg
02.09S20HEexParkside Tce500kg
02.10S21HEexJunction Givens St& Cooper St250kg
02.10S22HEexRailway nr Power House 31-33, Givens St50kg
02.05S23IB Junction Sunderland Rd& Cornhill RdABB 500
02.20S24HEexE Back Gladstone St.Sth Cardwell St250kg
02.12S25HEexHood St N of Crozier St50kg
02.05S26HEexSouthwick Rd opposite Albany St50kg
02.15S27HEexRailway Goods Yard, Portobello Lane50kg
02.15S28HEexGlass Works, Portobello Lane250kg
02.15S29HEexFulwell Rd 100 yards north Roker Ave250kg
02.15S30FPexStansfield St 50 yards north Roker Ave.
02.15S31HEexMonk St east end250kg
02.25S32FPexJunction Dame Dorothy St& Bloomfield St
02.15S33HEexWaterloo Place1000kg
02.25S35HEexJ.L. Thompson's, Manor Quay (in river)
02.25S36HEexOn foreshore 70 yards S Roker N Pier250kg
02.25S37HEexJ.L. Thompson's, North Sands500kg
02.15S38HEuxIn garden 6, Netherburn Rd500kg
02.25S39FPexJ.L. Thompson's, Southwick shipyard (on beach)
 S40HEux98, Victor St
 S41FPexLinthorpe Grove
 S42HEexAlderson St
 S43HEexLily Street
 S44HEexAustin'sBridge Dock
 S45HEexFenwick's Brewery, Low Street
 S46HEux14, Cecil Street50kg
 S47HEux24, Cecil St50kg
 S48HEuxIn street from Royalty to Summerhill
 S49FPexRailway embankment near Cleft St
 S50HEexdo do Wilkinson's Stables, Holmeside.
 S51HEuxChester Rd entrance to Bishopwearmouth Cem.
 S52HEuxFootpath Chester Rd outside above entrance
 S53HEuxBack 2, Abingdon St
 S54HEexChocolate Factory, Eden Place
 S55HEuxBack 3, Otto Terrace
 S56HEuxOutside No 15, Oakwood St1000kg
 S57HEuxRoadway west end Oakwood St1000kg
 S58HEexAzalea Tce. South
 S59HEex10, 12& 14, Azalea Avenue
 S60HEexBack Mayfair Dairies, New Durham Rd500kg
 S62HEex28-29, Alexandra Park
 S63HEexBack Alexandra Park
 S64HEex25, Alexandra Park
 S65HEexIn a field behind 27, Alexandra Park
 S66HEuxNo 7, Belle Vue Park
 S67HEuxBack 9& 11, Otto Tce
 S68PMex147-153, Perth Road
 S69PMuxEast of Silksworth Lane, at boundary
 S70PMuxField at Tunstall Hill Fm, Leechmere Rd North.
 S72PMuxWaldron Square, off Ryhope Road
 S73HEuxClark's Farm, west of Ryhope Road
 S75FPex7& 8, Deptford Road
 S76HEuxYard at 25, The Royalty
 S77HEuxOrmonde St250kg
 S78FPex10 feet from Linden Road (in field)
 S79FPex40 feet north-west of S78
 S80FPex19 yards south-west of S79
 S81FPex20 yards south-west of S80
 S82FPex7 yards west of S81
 S83FPex18 yards west of north of S82
 S84FPex8 yards east of S 83
 S85PhIBex20 yards north-east of S84
 S86PhIBex36 yards north-east of S85
 S87-S93FP Stick of 7 in line 90 yards SW of S83
 S94FPexPower Station, Farringdon Row
 S95HEexNorth Austin's Bridge Dock, in river
 S96  Greenwell's, South Dock (oil tanks)
 S97HEexWest side Barrack St
 S98HEexEast side Barrack St
 S99IB King'sTheatre, Crowtree RoadAB 36
 S100IB Avenue Paint Works, Swinbank StreetAB 36
 S101IB Sir James Laing's shipyard, DeptfordABB 500
 S102HEuxFulwell Quarries
 S103HEuxFulwell Quarries
 S104FPexFulwell Quarries
 S105FPexMillum Terrace
 S106HEexBede Street
 S107FPux51, Alexandra Park
 S108IB Eye Infirmary, Queen Alexandra RdABB 500
 S109HEux29, The Westlands250kg
 S110HEux35, The Westlands500kg
 S111HEux14 Colchester Terrace50kg
 S112HEuxBishopwearmouth Cemetery, near Chester Road
 S113IB Bow Street - Varna StreetABB 500
 S114  In river at Harbour Entrance
 S115  do
 S116FPexPier wall 100 yds from old S Pier Lighthouse
 S117FPex120 yards from old South Pier Lighthouse
 S118FPexIn mud bank on south side of Old S Pier
 S119  In the sea south of Old South Pier
 S120  do
 S121  100 yards off base of new South Pier
 S122PhIBexIn field S of North Moor Farm, Shields Road
 S128PhIBex8, Hardwick Street
 S129PhIBexBack of 46, Dame Dorothy Street
 S130? On mud bank near Laing's slipway

South Shields.. Three galvanised metal containers fell in a residential area. Two failed to open but the third liberated a quantity of leaflets the text of which read:- "Here is the reason why the British Government says nothing about shipping losses." it then gave a list of 412 ships supposedly sunk from June 1941 (four of them were actually in the Tyne at the time of the raid). Five more containers were found on Cleadon Hill

02.00.. Co Durham.. A PM exploded at Seaham Harbour causing thirty-four fatal casualties, forty-two persons were seriously injured. A number of people were trapped in damaged houses. Twelve houses were demolished and ten seriously damaged. 200 persons accommodated in Rest Centre. Overhead electric cables were damaged.

02.00.. Co Durham.. One PM exploded and one UXPM fell near Offerton Village. A number of houses were damaged. Offerton Village was completely evacuated and railway traffic on the Penshaw-Sunderland line was suspended. Two unclassified roads were closed.

02.05.. Co Durham.. One PM fell on the outskirts of Silksworth causing superficial damage to house and shop property, but no casualties.

02.10.. Co Durham.. One HE was dropped at Boldon Colliery causing damage to an Infants School and a large number of houses. One male later died from injuries sustained and one male and two females were slightly injured. GPO underground cables, water and gas mains were damaged.

02.10.. Co Durham.. One HE fell at West Boldon, no damage or casualties.

02.10.. Co Durham.. A single HE fell at Castletown causing slight injuries to one male and three females. The Washington-Sunderland road was blocked.

02.15.. Co Durham.. Two UXPMs fell near Old Burdon between Houghton le Spring and Seaham Harbour. The B.1404 was closed pending the UXPMs being rendered safe.

02.15.. Co Durham.. One HE fell at New Seaham slightly damaging houses.

02.20.. Co Durham.. A PM exploded at North Hylton causing slight damage to farm buildings but no casualties.

02.20.. Co Durham.. Six HEs were dropped in the Whitburn area causing slight damage to about forty houses and injuries to two males and two females. Leaflets dropped in the Whitburn area regarding British shipping losses.

02.30.. Co Durham.. One HE fell in a field at Ryhope causing no casualties.

03.00.. Co Durham.. A gas main was damaged near Silksworth by a PM which exploded in Sunderland Borough.

03.00.. Co Durham.. A house at Seaham was damaged by an AA Shell.

6/KG2 Dornier Do 217K-1 (4584). Shot down by Flying Officer Keele and Flying Officer Cowles in a Beaufighter of No 604 Squadron. Crashed into the sea, thirty-five miles E of Sunderland 02.15. Obergefr G. Kaber and Uffz A. Richter missing. Bodies of Uffz K. Roos and Uffz B. Mittelstädt recovered from the sea. Aircraft U5+DP sank.

Night 1351. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.05, ends: 04.58
Public Alert: 01.44, All-Clear: 03.09
Industrial Alarm: 01.57, Release: 02.36

Thursday, 20th May 1943  D1356

A Typhoon fighter based at Milfield airfield, near Wooler, crashed at 11.15, in Ford Westfield Woods. The aircraft left Milfield just before 11.15 when it reached about 200' the engine stalled and the machine crashed to the ground. The pilot, a Flight Lieutenant was killed.

It was announced that signposts are to be re-erected in rural Britain as the fear of invasion recedes.

A father and son from Seaton Delaval in Northumberland were prosecuted by the Ministry of Labour and National Service, charged with being persistently late for work without a reasonable excuse. They were both fined 40s. (£2.00). - a sizeable sum for the period!

Day 1356. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.52, begins: 23.14

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