Permanent tribute installed to the 15 tragic Hebburn people who died in a Second World War bombing raid

Fifteen tragic people – including three children – have been honoured in a Hebburn tribute to those who died in a Second World War air raid attack.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:34 pm

Twelve adults and three children, as young as three years old, died when bombs fell on South Tyneside, including on homes as well as a council depot on Glen Street in October 1941.

Now a poignant tribute has been paid with a plaque erected at the Iona Social Club. It was paid for after fundraising made the tribute possible.

The adults who died in the raid were Bernard McGivern, 19, Hugh Lynch. 29, Peter Atkins, 32, Matty McCaffery, 35, Edward B Wheatley, 38, John James Keegan, 39, Thomas Jenkinson, 39, Peter McKenna, 42, Peter McGivern, 42, Stephen B Chance, 46, Jacob Robison, 51, and Ernest Wilfred, 53.

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The unveiling of the plaque in Hebburn.

They were all air raid patrol volunteers.

The children who died were Jane Douglas, 5, Thomas Tracy, 8, and James Scott, 3.

Newspaper reports at the time said that one bomb fell on a depot and killed a number of men among the rescue party which was on duty and most of the men were volunteers.

The unveiling of the plaque at the Iona Club.

Another bomb wrecked nearby houses and children were killed as a result.

The honour of the unveiling of the plaque was bestowed on Betty Forster, whose father Peter Atkins was one of those who died in the raid.

Among the campaigners and organisers behind the plaque’s unveiling was Trish Conway who said the event was a ‘fitting tribute’.

She paid tribute to Michael Lynch, whose uncle Hugh was killed in the attack, and said Michael was the instigator of the campaign to honour the 15 who died.

The plaque which pays tribute to 15 people who died in Hebburn in 1941.

As to the unveiling itself, Trish added: “Most of the families were represented and said they were over the moon that someone they had lost was going to be remembered.”

The plaque, she said, was beautiful and Trish said she was delighted when she found out that Betty had agreed to unveil it.

Fellow organiser Norman Dunn said: "It was really nice to meet the lovely people who had come along to commemorate that fateful event 80 years ago."

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Betty Forster who unveiled the plaque.

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The moment the plaque was unveiled at the Iona Club.
Betty Forster and daughter Helen Logan holding a picture of Betty's father Peter Atkins who died in the 1941 air raid.