Check out our latest magazine... Read Online

Newport Bombing Victim Officially Recognised by Common Wealth War Graves Commission

More than 80 years after eight Luftwaffe planes dropped bombs on Newport, a campaign to have one man officially recognised as a victim, has finally been successful.

On the morning of 7th April 1943, eight Luftwaffe planes dropped bombs on Newport, causing devastation. There has always been debate about whether it was 20 or 21 lives lost, as one man was seriously injured, dying five months later meaning he was often not included in memorials. However, as of January 2024, nearly 81 years later, Alfred Rackett has now officially been recognised as a victim of the bombing. When a bomb exploded at timber merchant Moreys (now Jewsons) in Trafalgar Road, Alfred Rackett suffered a broken back in the blast. He died at his home, 29 New Street, on Sept 25th 1943 with his wife Elizabeth by his side.

His death certificate cites a broken back, enemy action and suspected carcinoma which was under investigation and may have been exacerbated by his injuries. His occupation was described as a ‘timber checker’, however despite being injured close to Moreys, his name is not recognised by those that worked there and he may have worked in another timber merchant.

Situated at Mountjoy Cemetery, the restoration of his grave was paid for by a personal donation and discussions began with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to see if Alfred could be recognised as an official victim of the bombing. In January, the CWGC confirmed they had investigated Alfred’s case and he would now be officially included in the war dead.

Gary Newman Eyes On Hands On Project/Public speaker from the CWGC said: "As a Newportonian, I was honoured to have been asked to make a case of 'non commemoration' to the CWGC on behalf of Newport & Carisbrooke Community Council for Alfred and very pleased that it was accepted & upheld. This means that Alfred's name will, in due course, be added to the Commission's online public database but more importantly added to the National Roll of Honour at Westminster Abbey. Furthermore, his story will be told on the CWGC website."

Island Memorials kindly engraved a brick with Alfred’s name and his name has now been added to the Newport & Carisbrooke Community Council memorial in Church Litten alongside the names of the 20 other lives that were lost.

Newport & Carisbrooke Deputy Clerk, Lucinda Bradley said “I am delighted that Alfred Rackett has finally been recognised as a victim of the bombing. My thanks go to Gary Newman of the CWGC for his kind help and Island Memorials, for once again showing generosity and ensuring the victims of that tragic day are still remembered, all these years later.”

More from Features

Get Social