Coventry & Warwickshire

'Forgotten' Coventry IRA bomb victims get memorial

The families outside the cathedral
Image caption The families have requested that a memorial listing the victims' names be located on Unity Lawn

The relatives of people who died during the "forgotten" bombing of Coventry are to get a memorial for their loved ones - 76 years after the attack.

Five people died in an IRA explosion in the city centre in 1939, yet few people in Coventry remember the tragedy.

However, the families of those who died have successfully campaigned for a memorial to be located - it is hoped - in the cathedral grounds.

The city council said it was important the victims were "never forgotten".

'Innocent victims'

During a meeting with the council and Reverend Canon Dr David Stone, held earlier, the families spoke about how long they had been trying to get a memorial in the city.

"It's one of those things very few people in Coventry seem to know about," said Jane Bant, niece of John Arnott, the youngest victim.

Marie Jones, whose father Jack was the twin brother of another victim, shop worker Rex Gentle, said the promise of a memorial was "something I have dreamed of".

"It just brings closure to the whole thing for my family," she said.

The families decided their preference would be for a plaque listing the victims' names on a stone located on Unity Lawn, outside Coventry's cathedral.

Image copyright Marie Jones
Image caption Rex Gentle - pictured here with his fiancee - was one of the victims. His family say the memorial was something they have dreamed of

It is hoped the unveiling of the memorial will be preceded by a service, which prominent Irish representatives - including the Irish ambassador - will be invited to attend.

The council said it hoped the event could be organised for August or September, to coincide with the anniversary of the attack.

The cathedral is seeking permission from the church authorities for the memorial.

Canon Stone said: "It's very moving to have met the relatives of those who died back in 1939, for whom their memory continues to be so important and who have made sure it is not forgotten," he said.

Phil Townshend, the council's deputy leader, said: "We are a city of peace and reconciliation and it is important we never forget people who are innocent victims."

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