Skip to content

The Air Raid Warden Helmet

There were sea mines all along the sea front from Ryde to Puckpool Park during WW2. Big concrete blocks were used to block the slip ways and barbed wire was put down on the beaches in case of invasion.

Image: Museum of Ryde

(If you are in a group, perhaps take turns to read each story out loud in character!)

The first daylight visit to the Isle of Wight by enemy bombers came on 2nd July – they were chased back out to sea by a trio of British fighter planes.

The spectacle of a Dornier bomber returning from a German reconnaissance mission crossing over Newport on Monday 8th July was followed three days later by the enemy’s real daylight onslaught against the south of England. The Battle of Britain had begun.

At Ryde, on the 15th, Fred Kerridge’s private log filled up with details of another four raid warnings – taking the total past 275 – between early afternoon and late evening. By the time 300 had been logged on the evening of 23rd November, many more high explosive and incendiary bombs had fallen on the Island.

That raid on the 23rd was the significant one to involve Ryde. The warning sirens were heard in town at 6.15pm. Fred Kerridge recorded heavy AA gunfire until 9.20pm and went on to list a catalogue of high explosive and incendiary bombing incidents. It was 11.25 before Ryde was given the all-clear, with seven fires reported in town that night.

War time censorship restricted local press reporting of several bombs and incendiaries falling on the town on Thursday 9th January. But the Nazis had no such inhibitions. They communicated on 10th January a list of towns on the Island raided the previous night, including eight houses damaged on main road from Newport to Ryde. On 11th March, a suspected unexploded bomb was found on the railway in Ryde, north of St. John’s Road station. Traffic was immediately stopped between there and the pier head terminus, while Southern Railway called in the experts. Ernie Jolliffe recalls, however, that incident was dealt with in rather less expert a fashion than the railwaymen had a right to expect!

This is a self-guided trail. Your use of this trail is at your own risk which is operated on an ‘as is, as available’ basis. In no event shall The Earth Museum or its representatives be liable for any damages arising out of, or in any way connected with, the use of this trail.

NB This resource requires the latest versions of most common desktop browsers, and works best with Chrome and Firefox. It also supports most common current iOS and Android mobile devices. Strong WiFi/ phone signal coverage is required for full functionality.

Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of The Earth Museum. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.