With the lifting of the censorship on aid raid damage caused in this country, it is now possible to give details of raids in Derbyshire. Chesterfield is one of the few towns which has not had a serious air raid casualty, but most people will be surprised at the number of bombs dropped within the borough. In the first place Chesterfield was extremely lucky, but it was not all luck. Chesterfield’s immunity from casualties was also due to a good civil defence service which dealt with incendiary bombs promptly and undoubtedly saved the town from the weight of high explosive it might have had.


Chesterfield received its baptism fire at 2.21 a.m. on August 29th 1940. Ordinary incendiary bombs, and bombs containing crude oil and petrol were folowed by high explosives. One fell on Walton Golf Course just off Langer Lane and caused a huge crater 50ft in diameter and 20ft deep. A stick of seven bombs fell in a line west of Hucknall Avenue, Ashgate Road, towards the Donkey Racecourse on October 21st 1940. 15 H.E. bombs were dropped in Midland Terrace and Storforth Lane. Damage was done to a railway embankment. One unexploded bomb was found embedded underneath a house. There was some damage to house property and some minor casualties, but nothing serious.


Chesterfield had a lively time on the night of the first Sheffield blitz December 12-13th 1940. Hundreds of incendiary bombs fell in the Newbold and Ashgate area. On that night splendid work by wardens, police, messengers and other services probably saved the town from a serious attack. Using sand, soil and stirrup pumps, the fire bombs were dealt with before the high explosives arrived. On December 15th, the night of the second Sheffield blitz, high explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped near Barlow. There was more excitement in the borough on the night of December 21st, when more incendiary bombs were dropped on Newbold and Sheepbridge, and two high explosives fell near Walton Hill Top fortunately in fields. More bombs fell in Chesterfield on February 4th 1941. Damage was done to houses in Hawthorn and Sherwood Streets, off Derby Road, when both high explosive and incendiary bombs fell. Some people were treated for shock and burns. Nine high explosive bombs and a large number of incendiaries were dropped in the fields between Chander Hill Holymoorside and Ashgate on the night March 14-15th 1941. On the night of April 26th 1941 a parachute mine was dropped at Barlow, and considerable damage was done to Wooodseats Hall and farm buildings There was little activity after that, although in August, 1942 a shower of high explosives and incendiaries was dropped in the Brimington district. Damage was done to houses, but there were no casualties. There were many other minor incidents, including that exciting occasion when a lone plane came in at dawn and machine gunned workpeople without effect.


In the Chesterfield country area there was some loss of life as a result of aerial attack. The worst incident was at Tupton on the night of March 15th 1941. Three high explosive bombs were dropped, two of them being direct hits on houses. Six houses were demolished, and of 14 casualties 11 were fatal.

(Detailed report on the Bombing in Tupton click HERE)

Hodthorpe was fortunate on August 18th 1940 when 20 high explosive bombs were dropped round about the village. One bungalow only was hit and partly demolished, although other houses were damaged. There were 13 casualties, but none fatal. The corner of one house was struck by a bomb. In it were eight people, including twins, who escaped. At Pinxton on August 12th 1940, a stick of bombs was dropped. One of them hit a council house and one person was killed. At Stainsby near Hardwick on September 30th 1940 a plane dropped a stick of bombs across the village at 6.30 a.m. One of them hit a cowshed and killed seven beasts.


 There was a dramatic surprise raid in the Midlands on a summer’s evening on July 3rd 1942. Two planes came in very low from the west coast and dropped bombs at New Mills, and afterwards at Eyam Quarries. Flying so low that people expected them to hit the trees in the park these planes machine gunned Chatsworth and damaged stonework. They went on to Clay Cross, still flying just over the house tops, and then machine gunned locomotives at Shirebrook injuring a fireman in the leg. A stick of bombs fell at Kelstedge, Ashover, not far from the main Matlock road damaging the roofs of farm buildings, but doing no personal injuries. Of the many incidents in the county, 33 were at Eckington and Beighton, but Killamarsh, adjoining, did not receive a single bomb. Staveley and Brimington had ten incidents. A mine at Staveley smashed almost all the windows in Chesterfield Road. Brimington had ten incidents, Dronfield 28, Clowne nine, Clay Cross 18, Bo!sover three, Shirebrook 10 and Alfreton 21.

29th September 1944 Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald

Bombs on Derbyshire.

During the war 1,400 high explosives and 8,350 incendiary bombs were dropped in Derbyshire, excluding the Boroughs of Derby and Chesterfield. The highest casualties were at Tupton (11 fatalities).

27th July 1945 Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press

Thanks to Joy Thompson