Memorial unveiled to victims of Second World War bombing in Worcester
A memorial sculpture to the victims of the only fatal German attack on Worcester in the Second World War has been unveiled.
The leaf-shaped monument, created by local mosaic artist Victoria Harrison, is the centrepiece of the newly-regenerated Meco Memorial Nature Park, situated close to the Mining Engineering Co Ltd (Meco) works.
The factory was targeted in a bombing raid by a German aircraft on 3 October 1940, with seven workers killed and 50 people injured.
The new memorial was unveiled by 95-year-old Irene Allen, who narrowly avoided being injured in the attack, at a moving ceremony held at the park in the St John's area of the city. The event was attended by more than 20 descendants and relatives of the victims of the attack.
The key note speaker at the event was historian Dilip Sarkar MBE, a member of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and the author of more than 50 books about the Spitfire and the Battle of Britain,
He said: "This attack, on 3 October 1940, was deliberate on account of the Germans wrongly believing that the Meco factory was producing essential parts for the British aircraft industry. Nonetheless, this well-executed attack by a lone Ju 88 caused serious damage and, sadly, loss of life.
"It is entirely right and proper, therefore, that Worcester City Council have organised this memorial park to the victims, and we of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust commend all involved."
Councillor Karen Lewing, Chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee, hosted the ceremony and said: "This wonderful new memorial commemorates a significant but terrible event. The presence at the ceremony of relatives of the victims shows that, while this attack may have happened over 70 years ago, it remains a piece of true living history.
"I hope that this striking piece of art will give the people of St John's and the generations to come a focal point for remembrance, linking the past to the present for the local community."
The sponsor of the project to refurbish the Meco Memorial Nature Park (previously known as Sanctuary Park) and to create the beautiful new memorial sculpture was Councillor Richard Udall, who represents the St John's area.
He said: "The attack on the Meco works had a devastating impact on the people of St John's, with seven workers losing their lives and 50 people injured. This terrible attack has never been forgotten and it is only right that we now have a lasting memorial in place."
It was on Thursday 3 October 1940 that the lone German aircraft attacked Worcester, dropping its bombs at low level on the Meco works and machine-gunning the surrounding area.
Seven people were killed and 50 injured in the only fatal bombing raid to take place in the city during the conflict.
The new memorial honours the lives of the Meco employees who died in the attack: Albert Edward Williams, William Hulme, James Williams Perry, Williams George Ricketts, George William Lee, Thomas Charles Santler and Louis Clement Defaye. It also commemorates civilian Doris Tindall, who sadly lost her sight in the raid.
One of the relatives attending the ceremony was Jill Glover, granddaughter of Albert Williams.
She said: "Albert has always been a hero in our family and it is fantastic that the other people killed in this terrible attack are now being recognised in this way."
The Meco works originally produced equipment for the mining industry and continued to do so during the conflict, while also contributing to the war effort by manufacturing surge drums for barrage balloons and, later, a form of track material used for supporting military vehicles over soft ground.
It is believed the factory was deliberately targeted by the Germans, contrary to some reports that it was a random attack. Production at the works stopped for five days after the raid.
The refurbishment of the Meco Memorial Nature Park was jointly funded by Worcester City Council, Platform Housing and Worcestershire County Council.