11th May 1943 Air Raid

By John Magee

I’m researching the early morning raid on Great Yarmouth that took place on the 11th May 1943.

What puzzles me is that the only photograph that shows the aftermath of the raid clearly shows the area that is now the car park belonging to the Imperial hotel whereas the official memorial is situated on the site of the Palm Court Hotel .

I appreciate that the buildings on both sites were destroyed in the same raid but can anyone clarify where the ATS billet actually was . 

There is also mention of the destroyed buildings being called Sefton House and Whitfield House . Again , can anyone clarify this point ? 

Many thanks.

This page was added by John Magee on 06/05/2022.
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There is an eyewitness account of the raid on the ATS hostel in the Mercury.


Hope it helps!


By Comment
On 18/11/2022

Hi John Magee.
My father was billeted at one of the buildings (the Army HQ, I assume), but I have never been entirely clear as to which one this was, so I also have similar questions. If you care to get in touch I am more than happy to share what I have.
Thanks, Pete 

By Pete Fisk
On 16/05/2023

Hi John Magee.
My father was billeted in one of the buildings that came under attack (Army HQ) and I have been researching this (on and off) for years, but have come across more-or-less the same questions as you. I do, however think I have worked out pretty much what was what if you care to get in touch.
Thanks, Pete . 

By Pete Fisk
On 16/05/2023

I too have wondered about this.For many years the memorial plaque was on the wall outside the Palm Court hotel’s swimming pool and Sefton House was listed as the site. However, that has been removed and a new plaque showing Whitfield House as the site, has been unveiled in the Imperial hotel’s car park. 

Thus, I would say it’s safe to assume that the ATS billet was indeed Whitfield House as shown in contemporary photographs.

By Lee Mitchell
On 16/05/2023

Hi Lee.
Yes, it is a bit of a mystery and thanks for your input. I seem to go have gone from one site to the other over the years, but settled on the Sefton House theory, probably simply because that's where I was told the girls were. That said, to me the siting of the new plaque fits exactly the view of the original black & white photographs, with the soldiers clearing the rubble on the day - both clearly facing the gable-end of the house on the other side of Sandown Road. The problem here is - IF this is where the girls were, where does that place the Army? I remember my Dad saying he ran along the road from where they were (the Army) after the raid, so where exactly was he - the Imperial Hotel would seem too close for him to have stated he 'ran along the road'? I also seem to recall him saying they were about a block away.
I'm assuming Whitfield House must have been a separate dwelling on the site of what is now the the car park to the Imperial Hotel? 
I have never been able to find anything at all about Whitfield House.

By Pete Fisk
On 21/05/2023

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