- Surnames starting with the letter C. 

Eleanor May (Mrs) Coventry

Name of Rgt or Ship:Civilian
How Died:Killed in Air Raid
Country of burial:U.K.Grave Photo:No
Cemetery or Memorial:Brighton Crematorium
Town Memorial:Bexhill Civilian Memorial
Extra Information:
Born Eleanor May Langley on the 15th November 1877, the birth being
registered during the March quarter 1878 in the Chorlton R.D. - ref:
8c/704, the daughter of Henry & Janet Langley.

1881 Census - The Lodge, Platt Lane, Rusholme, Manchester.  Daughter -
aged: 3 - born: Manchester.  Head of household - Henry N. Langley - Married
- aged: 38 - occ: Consul for Honduras & Salesman Merchant - born: Mayfield,
Sussex.  Also - Janet Langley - Wife - aged: 29 - born: Manchester.  Plus -
2 brothers and 3 domestic servants.

1891 Census - Glenbrooke, Holly Road, Fulshaw, Cheshire.  Daughter - aged:
13 - Scholar - born: Manchester.  Head of household - Henry M. Langley -
Married - aged: 48 - occ: South American Merchant Consul for Salvador -
H.M. Duties - born: Mayfield, Sussex.  Also - Janet Langley - Wife - aged:
39 - born: Manchester.  Plus 4 brothers and 3 domestic

1901 Census - The Elms, Byron's Lane, Macclesfield.  Visitor at the home of
her impending in-laws.   Unmarried - aged: 23 - born: Manchester.  Also
listed was her husband to be - Theodore Coventry - Unmarried - aged: 36 -
occ: Mechanical Engineer, Managing Director - born: Manchester.  Plus 3 of
Theodore's half sisters, 2 visitors and  5 domestic servants. 

Married: Theodore Coventry during the June quarter 1901 in the Chorlton
R.D. - ref: 8c/1552.

1911 Census - Fern Royd, St Margaret's Road, Dunham Massey.  Wife - Married
- aged: 33 - born: Manchester.  Head of household – Theodore Coventry -
Married - aged: 46 - occ: Mechanical Engineer - born: Salford. Plus their
two children – Theodore Millis Coventry, aged: 8 and Eleanor Kate
Coventry, aged: 7, together with 3 domestic servants.

1939 National Registration - 21 Plemont Gardens, Bexhill, Sussex.  
Theodore Coventry - Married - born: 5th May 1864 - occ: Traveller for
Special Flooring used in Industrial & Food Works.  Eleanor May Coventry -
Married - born: 15th November 1877 - occ: Unpaid Domestic Duties.  There is
no mention of their two adult children at this address.   Their son was
recorded as residing at 21 York Road, Birmingham – Married – born: 9th
May 1902 – occ: Commercial Assistant Zipp Slide Fasteners.  He died at
Kerrier, Cornwall in 1992.   I have not been able to trace where their
daughter was at that time, she was born on the 13th June 1903, she never
married and died at Bodmin, Cornwall in 1988.

The Incident: It would appear that over the new year of 1943 Mrs. Coventry
was staying at the Suffolk Guest House, Brassey Street, Bexhill, East
Sussex together with her husband Theodore Coventry and their daughter –
Eleanor Kate Coventry.  Their son – Theodore Millis Coventry had married
in 1936 and was not at Bexhill at the time.  This was a domestic two story,
brick built, semi-detached house, in use as a guest house.

The Bomb Census report from the Ministry of Home Security’s Research &
Development (National Archives HO 192/1016) states that at 09.00 hrs on the
morning of the 2nd January 1943 three Focke-Wulf 190 fighter/bombers, each
capable of delivering a 500 Kg bomb and one Messerschmitt 109 fighter
flying at a maximum of 50 feet in ‘diamond’ formation with the ME109 at
the rear point, came in for what was known as a “Tip and Run” air raid
over Bexhill, East Sussex.  One of many German “Tip & Run” raids made
during this period of the war over the south coast of England, as far west
as Devon.

The report states that the aircraft dropped 500 Kg H.E. bombs on three
properties and an open piece of land.  These were:- 15 Jameson Road,
Motcombe Court situated at the corner of Dorset Road South and De La Warr
Parade; some vacant land at the corner of New Park Avenue and King’s
Close, leaving a 24 feet diameter crater, to a depth of some 6 feet.
According to the local newspaper - the Bexhill Observer, dated the 9th
January 1943, a H.E. bomb landed on a guest house [Suffolk House] and it
was reduced to a ‘pile of debris’.  Among those who lost their lives
were - Miss Ada Mary Adamson (guest house proprietor) - aged: 73; Miss
Edith Lilian Corke – aged: 39; Mrs. Eleanor May Coventry – aged: 65 and
Miss Jane Charlotte Cana - aged: 84.  Miss Cana was rescued alive, but
later died in hospital.  One lady resident – Miss Annie Phillips, aged:
76 had a lucky escape, as she had broken her leg (nothing to do with the
bombing incident) and had just left the guest house in an ambulance when
the bomb fell.

Miss Ada Adamson was a member of the W.V.S. and had volunteered to put up
anyone needing accommodation in the town as it was subject to entry

The body of Eleanor May Coventry was cremated at the Brighton Crematorium.

Eleanor’s husband – Theodore Coventry – aged: 78 and their daughter
– Eleanor Kate Coventry – aged: 39 were rescued and made good progress
in hospital.  The principal mourner at Eleanor’s funeral was her son,
which would indicate that her husband and daughter were still recovering in
hospital from their injuries and were unable to attend.

The East Sussex Record Office holds a letter from Theodore thanking the
Bexhill Rescue Squad.

DR/B 41/22      Bexhill Borough Council Monthly CD reports

Letter dated 28th January 1943 from T Coventry Esq to Chief Warden:
“Would you kindly convey to the members of the Rescue Squad who were
instrumental in rescuing me and my daughter on the 2nd January from the
debris of Suffolk House, my very deep appreciation of the efficiency and
expedition of their work. I was conscious all the time and realized that my
life depended on their speed as I could hardly breathe and was unable to
move at all.  Again, thanking all concerned.”

Theodore eventually died in 1950 in the Bromsgrove area - aged: 85.

Eleanor’s connection to Trafford appears to be that the family resided
there in 1911 and that her husband returned to Bowdon after her death -
presumably this was the family home and they were still residing there in

CWGC - Wife of Theodore Coventry of Bowdon, Cheshire.  Died at Suffolk
House, Brassey Road, Bexhill, Sussex.

I am indebted to David Hatherell, resident of Bexhill who researches the
war dead of Bexhill and who has kindly made available to me all his
collection of records of this incident.

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