Bombings in Solihull urban district

Photo of air wardens on a bomb site

Local authorities kept registers of civilians killed in air raids so that they could report details to the government.  During the war, Solihull Urban District Council was the local authority for many places now within the present Solihull metropolitan borough. Meriden Rural District Council administered other areas in the north and east of the present borough.

Although suffering only a few bombing raids compared with Birmingham, Solihull urban district did sustain some bomb damage and dozens of people were killed in air raids. There seem to have been four main air raids in terms of the numbers of people killed:

When someone was killed in an air raid in the urban district of Solihull, they were taken to Robin Hood Cemetery. As part of the necessary recording of fatalities, a casualty sheet was completed by mortuary staff. 30 of these sheets have survived and are held at Solihull Heritage & Local Studies Service.

Individual sheets are also attached to the next pages about the raids on particular dates. The sheets do not appear to include those who died at Solihull Hospital, which presumably had a separate reporting procedure. All civilian and military casualties are also included on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website. You can search by casualty name or by cemetery name. Selecting 'cemetery name' and then entering 'Solihull' or 'Meriden' will bring up a list of the civilian casualties who died in the respective local authority areas.

We know the names of 36 civilians who died in the Solihull urban district (one having been injured in Birmingham and brought to Solihull Hospital), plus two military personnel from searchlight batteries and three German airmen whose aeroplane was shot down over Earlswood. However, the Birmingham Daily Gazette of 2nd October 1944 gives the following statistics for the Solihull Urban District:

  • 358 air-raid warnings
  • 49 air raids
  • 41 people killed
  • 78 people admitted to hospital with injuries
  • 198 people with minor injuries dealt with at first aid posts
  • 492 high-explosive bombs dropped
  • 49 houses totally destroyed
  • 3,850 houses damaged

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission also lists the names of 21 civilians killed in Meriden Rural District. Most of these seem to have been injured in the Coventry area and taken to the Canadian General Hospital at Marston Green where they died.

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