The World War II German Air Raids on Grimsby in Lincolnshire.
I wanted to take a specific look and collate as much information on the wartime bombing raids endured by those living in Grimsby.
An incredible result with a fantastic map means we now have to look into the history of what happened during the aerial bombardment of the Humber Coast
For the purpose of this article we’ll stick to the events that happened solely in Grimsby, Cleethorpes and the very immediate area, other places deserve separate coverage.
We have a historically very important map which was located by the one and only Neville, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty special and can be seen at the bottom of the article. It is a relatively modern , circa 1930s street map of Grimsby so nothing special - except . . . this one comes from Nazi Germany and is dated 1942 - on it they have marked targets for German bombing raids and it comes with their colour key as to what colour represents what !
The History of the German Air Raids on Grimsby & Cleethorpes
As always, I would ideally like to collate as much history and information in subsequent comments. I will not make this article overly long as it could get unwieldy, hopefully it will continue to expand over time in comment form - do you know anything ? If so please do leave a comment.
Being a port Grimsby was a major target for the Nazi Air Force and was bombed heavily. So much so many children were evacuated, some even sent abroad by their families in 1939 to escape the bombs.
The German Luftwaffe deliberately did not bomb the dock tower as they used it as a guide and landmark - so much so the government even discussed destroying it themselves !
The area had Air Raid Wardens who were generally men too old to join the army, there were Air Raid Posts situated throughout the town as there were Air Raid Sirens.
Many houses had Anderson Shelters made of corrugated iron in their gardens to which they were to retreat on hearing the sirens, how much protection they afforded is something I’d like to hear more about.
Later on in the war, about 1943, Grimsby was the first town to have anti-personnel bombs dropped on it. These were designed not to explode and impact but when subsequently handled. These were scattered far and wide causing chaos some even ended up sitting in the roof guttering of houses !
People who lost their homes and were ‘bombed out’ made their way to the town hall in order to be listed and alternative accommodation found.
Barrage Balloons went up over ships and important buildings but still the bombers came, some even crashing locally, one made it through to Freeman Street though and fired its machine guns down the whole length of the street resulting in several civilian casualties.
In total 197 people were killed in WWII during the bombing raids and although it was an important target neighbouring Hull faired worse. One reason for this was perhaps that after the war it was revealed that Grimsby was to be the main point of attack on the East Coast for the planned German Invasion. Presumably they wished to preserve some of the infrastructure in the eventuality of invasion by land based German troops.
There’s clearly a massive amount more that can be added to this and I should like to see it grow in the form of comments so if you know of anything at all then please do leave a comment.
If you experienced the raids then your memories would be extremely valuable - please do record them here and preserve them for all to see.
Now to those fantastic maps rooted out by Neville
German text at top translated
Military geography: Details known as of 15.1.1942
It takes some getting over that you are looking at an actual map pored over by German High Command in the Luftwaffe in order to plan bombing raids on Grimsby.
It’s little wonder Hitler banned the removal of maps of Germany from Germany well before 1939 - clearly thinking ahead !
If you’ve any comments, opinions or information please do share
All the best
See Also Our List of Air Raid Casualties in Grimsby