The evidence of Sydney Warwick Clarke, Casualty Information Officer.

Sydney Clarke was a KUDC Rate Collector; his war-time position was that of ‘Casualty Information Officer for the Kenilworth Urban District with regard to Air Raid Casualties’. He lived at 74 Windy Arbour. He had known George and Nellie Webb for 18 years.

“The house in which they resided was within a few feet of the scene of the explosion due to an enemy land mine which fell in Abbey End. The house was totally destroyed in which they lived”.

“As this house was so near the full blast of the land mine, considerable difficulty was experienced in rescue operations and there was some outbreak of fire at the time. One of the bodies recovered from the house and identified was in fact somewhat burned.”

“I checked up as soon a possible and ascertained that at the time of the explosion 8 persons were in the house, only one was rescued alive. That person was H W Snape, giving an address then as 93 Stanley Road, Coventry. Five other bodies were taken from the ruins and they have all since been identified, and certificates issued with regards to their deaths.”

“On 28th November 1940 I went to Warneford Hospital, Leamington Spa, and there I interviewed H W Snape the rescued person. I discreetly questioned him as to who was in the house at the time. He gave me the names of all identified persons and in addition that of George Webb and Nellie Webb who were missing and of whom no trace was obtained. They were all at the time in a passage and the two Webbs were the first to go into that part of the house and were the nearest to the place where the mine exploded.”

“Out of the number of persons killed in this incident (25 in all) and the bodies of 21 were identified, 1 was unidentified, and a quantity of parts of bodies which could not be identified owing to the smallness of them, were recovered.”

"It is probable that parts of the bodies of the missing persons George and Nellie Webb were amongst those remains.”

 

Notes:

The statement made by Horace Snape in his hospital bed has different details to that given in writing to the Inquest.

Sydney Clarke, whose job it was to know such things, says that 25 persons died at Abbey End. This correlates exactly with the 24 known victims and the one unidentified man. However, he then says that 21 bodies were identified and another wasn’t – this leaves three who were not found, a figure at odds with other information. A simple error, or was a victim who died later omitted, or is it a mystery?