UK

Memorial Dedicated To 88 Factory Workers Killed In WWII Bombing

The civilian workers died when the Vickers factory they were worked at was hit.

A service of commemoration has taken place in Surrey for wartime factory workers killed by a German bomb 80 years ago.

The raid at Brooklands targeted the Vickers factory where the famous Wellington Bomber and Hawker Hurricane were built during World War Two.

The factory was based on the same site as Brooklands motor racing circuit.

It was a vital aircraft production facility, with hundreds of dedicated workers, 88 of whom died during the bombing raid.

It took place at 1:24pm on 4 September 1940, while many workers were outside.

"The workers themselves would've been used to hearing aircraft coming in and out, so they wouldn’t have suspected anything coming in," Alex Patterson, director of collections at Brookland Museum told Forces News.

Surprisingly, the factory reopened quickly.

"The factories themselves sustained quite a lot of damage, but remarkably, actually, a few days later, they managed to get it all cleared up and back into production again, so whilst a significant and devastating raid, it really didn’t stop the production and showed that sort of fighting spirit," he said.

Steel from Vickers factory with holes from German bomb shrapnel during the raid in 1940.

Inside the old air raid shelter, a new exhibition tells the story of that afternoon.

The names of the workers who died are listed on the new memorial.

Relatives attended the ceremony at Brooklands, where names of all who perished were read out before wreathes were laid.

"What they’ve now done is amazing, that is such a memorial, so proud," said Dennis Keany whose grandfather, William Earnest Hunt, died in the bombing.

His sister, Nicola Keany told Forces News: "We could definitely feel the power, being here on the time on the day, just incredible and just such a great event."

The names of those who died at Brooklands 80 years ago will never be forgotten.

The ultimate sacrifice they made to keep Britain’s war production going, now visible for everyone to see.