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Category Archives: Second World War

19th November 1940

19th November 2015 is the 75th anniversary of the first fatal bombings in the Solihull Urban District Council area. In 1995, local residents recalled the event and described how a German bomber, on its way to attack Coventry, had been hit by a British gun, and in order to lighten its load, had dropped high explosive and incendiary bombs on Solihull on the evening of Tuesday 19th November 1940.

Solihull High Street was hit by three bombs. The first bomb fell on Winfield’s Chemists, on the corner of Poplar Road and the High Street. The second bomb fell on Fitter’s jewellers halfway up the High Street, and the third on Duddy’s wool shop, on the corner of Drury Lane. The adjacent White Cat café was also damaged, as was a classroom at Park Road C of E School (now St Alphege Infants School).

image of Duddy's wool shop

Duddy’s Wool Shop, Solihull High Street, before bomb damage (from the John Arnold Collection at Solihull Central Library)

Duddy’s Wool Shop was too badly damaged to reopen on the site, so subsequently moved to Poplar Road, Solihull, where it was still in business in the early 1980s.

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V. E. Day in Solihull, 1945

Tuesday 8th May 1945, Victory in Europe Day, saw much rejoicing as the fighting in Europe officially came to an end and some of the men held as prisoners of war started to return home. The official announcement was made by Winston Churchill at 3pm on Monday 7th May that the following two days would be public holidays. However, it’s clear from newspaper articles in the Warwick County News that people were very mindful that war with Japan was still ongoing. The newspaper summed up the local celebrations as:

“typical of others throughout the land where people had gathered together to give thanks that the nightmare of the last grey years was over, and, while remembering that men in far distant lands were still in danger of their lives, to enjoy the day that their individual effort had made particularly their own” (Warwick County News, 12th May 1945)

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