Accounts written by boys in Elmdene (now Wallace House) about their experiences during the bombing of Sherborne on 30 September 1940.

Arranged A-Z by surname:

Thomas Stanley ADAMS (b.1927)
Attended Sherborne School (Elmdene [now Wallace House] & School House), September 1940-July 1945; tennis 1945 (captain).
Age on 30 September 1940: 13.

‘An Account of the Blitz’
On September 30th 1940, I was in room seven during the first period in the afternoon, when the siren blew, so we all went down to the room below as was the custom in thos [sic] days.  After about ten minutes work we heard the windows and door shaking violently and a faint rumble in the distance so we immediately ducked under our desks.  Before we had a chance to think the rumbling had turned to loud thuds as the bombs came closer and closer, until we heard a terrifying crash; when glass and rocks came through the windows. After waiting a few minutes to see if the raiders intended to return, we went across the cloisters, on the way seeing the craters in the courts, here the Head Master told us to return to our houses.  When I had made a wide detour of the countryside, I at last found myself back at Elmdene [Wallace House].  Here we had tea in the dayroom and packed our hand cases to go up to School House reading room where we were to live for the next week.  The reason for this move was that the police had found an unexploded Bomb outside Philips [now the Melbury Gallery] so they took Elmdene as a danger spot and ordered us to evacuate.

After a week the bomb, not having exploded, was taken to be a dud, and it was dug up and we were able to return to Elmdene, after sleeping on the floor in School House reading room.

There were about 300 bombs droped [sic] on Sherborne and much damage was done to the school.  The Big Schoolroom was rendered unsafe so all cine show had to be cancelled until the necessary work had been done.

Nine bombs were droped [sic] on the playing fields so for the next week or so after, we were picking up stone on Fields 1 and 7 or filling in the craters, this job was rather boring but it had to be done if we wanted to play.

David Robert Maxwell GLASSE (1926-1949)
Attended Sherborne School (Elmdene [now Wallace House] & School House), May 1940-July 1944.
Age on 30 September 1940: 14.

‘September 30th 1940’
When the Air Raid Alarm was sounded, I had to run back to Elmdene [Wallace House] as I was in the fire-squad.  When we had been sitting in the passage for about a quarter of an hour, we heard ‘planes coming over and they sounded like Huns, then suddenly the doors and windows began to rattle.  The air was filled with dust and there was a horrible whineing, punctuated by dull thumps and thuds.

We all crouched on the floor, and the doors blew open, but nobody troubled about them.  Luckily Elmdene was sheltered from the blast by other houses, and the whole show was over in about three minutes.

It was over so quickly that I only began to feel frightened afterwards, and even that did not last long as we all went up into an upper dormitory to watch a big fire that had broken out in Long Street direction.  Suddenly four Bristol Fighters came over from Yeovil and flew round in the smoke which had risen to about 800 feet.

When the rest of the house came back at about 5’clock they told us that there had been 4 bombs in the courts and one in the road outside the armoury.

The next day we discovered that there was an unexploded bomb in the road outside Phillips [now the Melbury Gallery] in Half Moon Street.  So we were told that we were going to sleep in sleeping bags in School House Reading Room and that we would have our meals in the San.  When we got back to Elmdene, I was so used to sleeping in a bag that I couldn’t get used to a bed at first.

Newlands was very heavily bombed and so was Lenthay.  6 bombs fell on the Playing Fields, one in the Headmaster’s Garden and a time bomb in Parry-Jones’ [Abbey House], which went off about four hours later.

 

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