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Sunday Morning At St Pauls

by csvdevon

Contributed by 
csvdevon
People in story: 
David Nix, Gordon Denly, Miss Tryphena Gooder
Location of story: 
Torquay
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A8969971
Contributed on: 
30 January 2006

Mr Nix is willing to have his story entered on to the People's War website and agrees to abide by the House Rules.

I am David Nix who lived until August 1942 in Plainmoor Torquay. After being "bombed out" following the incident at Plainmoor on August Bank Holiday, our family moved to Ellacombe.

My friends being in the Plainmoor area, I continued to visit and in particular carried on with my activities associated with St Pauls Church.

St Pauls was a small church of wood construction, clad completely in corrugated iron sheeting, painted a reddish brown colour. There was a church hall on the same site at the rear of the church and of the same construction. The church was part of the parish of Ellacombe and, as such, was linked closely with the mother church, situated in Ellacombe Church Road. It was sited in Plainmoor at the top of St Pauls Road; there are houses on the site now.

I was attending the 11o'clock service at St Pauls with my friend Gordon Denly, as usual. The church was fairly full and Gordon and I sat in our usual seat in the back row, to the right of the centre aisle. My aunt, Miss Tryphena Gooder, who came with me, was sitting very near the front.

Part way through the service a German plane flew low over the church and straffed it with canon fire. The noise of the shells ripping through the steel roof was frightening and, of course, all over very quickly.

The inside of the church was badly damaged and there were a number of casualties and I believe a fatality. Fortunately, neither Gordon, my aunt nor myself were hurt, just shaken. My aunt was particularly lucky as the worst of the damage was towards the front. I remember the minister, who was a church army man, being one of the casualties.

I'm not sure of the date of this incident, it was either late in 1942 or early 1943. Perhaps someone will be able to provide more detailed information.

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