George NEWMAN, Civilian

Killed during an air raid at Victoria Crescent, Chelmsford. Aged 65

George Newman was born and brought up in Chignall St. James, the son of an agricultural labourer. He became a wood machinist and sawyer and married in his home village in 1909, producing a son and daughter. By 1911 he had moved to Chelmsford. He was killed along with his wife and children in May 1943 when their home in Victoria Crescent was destroyed by a German parachute landmine during the 'Chelmsford Blitz'.

residential areas. One fell south of the factory exploding in between Townfield Street, Chapel Place, Mill Lane and Railway Street. The other parachute landmine fell to the north-west of the factory and scored a direct hit on 8 Victoria Crescent, leading to the deaths of nine people, including 65 year-old George, his wife and their two children killed at 14 Victoria Crescent.

The brunt of the blast from the Victoria Crescent landmine was felt by the terraced houses on the road’s western side, with numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 & 16, demolished. All the dead came from those properties. Several of those killed are believed to have been burned alive after being trapped in their Morrison air raid shelters. Five other people were reported to have been injured in the incident.

The remaining six houses on the western side of Victoria Crescent, numbers 18, 20, 22, 24, 25 & 28, were seriously damaged. Across the road numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 & 19 were considered damaged beyond repair, while the last six houses, numbers 21, 23, 25, 27, 29 & 31, were seriously damaged. In the streets close to Victoria Crescent, blast seriously damaged 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 & Homeleigh Cottage in the northern portion of Glebe Road; and 94, 96, 98 & 100 Marconi Road.

The four Newman victims were buried at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery on 22nd May 1943, with George and his wife buried in grave 5503, and their children in grave 5502. Their funerals were conducted by the Provost of Chelmsford Cathedral, the Very Reverend W. E. R. Morrow.


By 1943 George, his wife and children were living at 14 Victoria Crescent in Chelmsford, with George employed as a wood machinist and their son as a fireman.

In the early hours of 14th May 1943 Chelmsford experienced what was to prove to be its heaviest air raid of the war. In a sharp attack that lasted for just over an hour, the German air force, the Luftwaffe, dropped a large number of high explosive, incendiaries and parachute landmines which caused extensive damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties in the town, and led to the deaths of more than 50 people.

During the raid a pair of parachute landmines, apparently intended for Marconi’s factory, narrowly missed the factory and struck

George was born in Chignall Saint James in 1878, the only child of George Newman and Mary Ann Newman (nee Willis). His parents had married in 1876.

The 1881 census recorded three year-old George living with his parents and a lodger at 5 Brickbarns Cottages in Chignall Saint James where his father was an agricultural labourer. A decade later the 1891 census listed George, aged 13, still living with his parents at the same property, along with a London-born cousin, Ethel Clarke. Both Georges were agricultural labourers. The four were still living there at the time of the 1901 census. By then George was a machinist in wood and his father was an ordinary agricultural labourer.

On 12th April 1909 George married Sarah Ann Stock at Chignall St. James. At the time he was 31 years old, employed as a sawyer, living in the parish. His bride was 30 years old, and also lived at Chignall St. James.

A year later Sarah bore a son, Alfred George Newman. When he was baptised on 4th June 1910 George was working as a sawyer and resident at Glebe Cottage, Chelmsford.

In 1911 the census found 33 year-old George living with his wife and sister at 16 Glebe Road in Chelmsford. George was a sawyer at a joinery works. In 1914 George and Sarah had a daughter, Elsie May Newman. When she was baptised on 6th February 1915 George was a woodwork machinist living at 24 Victoria Crescent in Chelmsford.