I believe I mentioned “the Three Spires” of Coventry in my last blog? The towers all survived the Blitz of 1940-41, but the churches attached to them did not fair so well. Only one survived--Holy Trinity. That’s where I was today.
I know I was at Holy Trinity to record today’s service, but my mind kept drifting back to that fateful day, so long ago (well, nearly sixty years in the future from where I sat.) The fourteenth of November 1940 the German Luftwaffe bombed Coventry. This was no hit and run bombing as they had done before. Five hundred planes, for nearly eleven hours, did their best wipe Coventry off the map.
|Rev. Graham Clitheroe|
You are probably wondering how I knew someone from the 20th century when I’m only allowed back in the 19th, but Basil was a temporal anthropologist from the 27th century like myself. We went through training at the Institute of Time Travel together and received our licenses at the same time. Basil convinced the Institute that his being at Holy Trinity that night would change nothing and he would be safe.
Basil recorded that whole hellish night. Rev. Clitheroe ran about putting out fires around his church, and even climbed ladders to push bombs off the roof. How he managed is a wonder, for he was not a young man. Basil admitted to me he cried as he watched the city around him going up in flames. Rev. Clitheroe would cry later, that night he had his hands full just saving this one building.
|Holy Trinity still standing after the Blitz|
I understand that when Graham Clitheroe died in 1968 (four years after he retired) his final wish was to be cremated and his ashes buried in the graveyard of the church he loved. He knew the burial ground had long since been filled up, but felt they could surely find a spot for a small urn. The current Vicar at the time, Lawrence Jackson, refused. Clitheroe would not be buried outside the church he had saved--he would be buried inside at a place of honor!
|Graham Clitheroe buried inside Holy Trinity Church|
A more detailed account of that night in 1940.
Holy Trinity Church through the ages (video)
Blitz: The Bombing of Coventry (documentary)
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4