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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7th November 1915

On 7th November 1915, 24-year-old Private John Henry Woolley from Castle Bromwich was killed in action in France, serving with the 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in 1891, the eighth of the eleven known children of parents, George James Woolley, farm labourer, and his wife, Kate (formerly Batchelor), who had married at St Peter & St Paul’s, Aston in 1878.

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