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The first landmine


The devastating land mine that caused the explosion at Abbey End was the second to fall in Kenilworth. The first landed about 30 seconds earlier and resulted in many people being on the streets when the second landed.

It fell in an open field, today the location is the junction of Oaks Road and Beauchamp Road. It blew a very large crater which suggests the device detonated when hitting the ground. It reputedly took 40 cart loads of spoil to infill. An eye witness has told me (in 2020) that the crater was ‘big enough for two double decker buses’.

The Cemetery Lodge had most of its windows broken, and cracks appeared on the inside walls and bedroom ceilings. Damage to the cemetery chapel roof was described as “fairly extensive”, and some of the leaded glass in its windows were broken; within hours the chapel was in use as a mortuary.

In the nearest residential streets of Chestnut Avenue and St Nicholas Avenue, damage appears to have been limited to broken windows.

I have been told that the device did not properly detonate and ‘the army’ took from it the remaining explosives.