The forgotten Coventry bombing that blew a Walsall Wood bricklayer off his feet

bike-remains

A new chain and some forks and that could be good to go… The remains of the bicycle bomb planted in Coventry just before the war. Image courtesy of Coventry Police Museum.

An additional piece followed the original article I featured by John and Paul Anslow last week, on the subject of Walsall Wood and Pelsall wartime air raids – this one is about an IRA attack in Coventry right before the war that appears to have been all but forgotten.

Last week’s article was wonderfully well received and I’d like to once again thank the Anslow brothers for their time and generosity in contributing such wonderful material to the blog.

Thanks to John and Paul, and if you have anything to add, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

John Anslow wrote:

ira-bomb2

The devastation caused by the bomb: a forgotten atrocity. Image from HistoricCoventry.co.uk.

Here’s another footnote for your collection of wartime memories, Bob.

In the months immediately preceding the outbreak of the Second World War, the IRA launched a bombing campaign, now largely forgotten.

The only reason I know about it is because of a bricklayer called Jackie Morgan, who had a bungalow down Beech Tree Road, Walsall Wood. He used to drink with Dad in The Hawthorn Tree and The Horse and Jockey; in fact, Jackie often drank and played cards through the night at the Jockey and left for work from there at daybreak.

Jackie was working in Broadgate, Coventry at lunchtime on Friday 25th August 1939 when a bicycle bomb exploded, blowing him off his feet but leaving him with no serious injury. The blast killed five people. There’s a very well written account of this act of terrorism here: http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/articles/s-shaw.php

Subsequently, two Irishmen involved in the plot were hanged, though the person who planted the bomb was never caught. These two, Barnes and McCormick, have entered the pantheon of republican martyrs.

War was declared on the 3rd of September and the German bombing raids just over a year later have pushed the terrorist attack out of public memory.

All the best, Bob.
John Anslow

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3 Responses to The forgotten Coventry bombing that blew a Walsall Wood bricklayer off his feet

  1. John Anslow says:

    Just steeled myself to re-read the account you’ve linked to, Bob, ( I find some of the details quite harrowing) and realised that I’d written that four people were killed. There were, I see, five fatalities, aged between 15 and 82.

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    I remember Mr Morgan… and his neat vegetable garden. His bungalow was just across the road from the village’s first school house, in Beech Tree Road. A big thankyou to John.
    kind regards
    David

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