Page 1, 27th September 1940

27th September 1940
Page 1
Page 1, 27th September 1940 — Catholic Societies are now working to relieve suffering and distress

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Locations: LONDON, Western Town


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Page 3 from 27th September 1940

Catholic Societies are now working to relieve suffering and distress



Sympathy will be extended to the Jesuits, who are celebrating the 4th centenary of their foundation, on the partial burning of Farm Street Church.

Another Jesuit church, presbytery and college in a North-West town have received some damage this week. Damage done to Catholic schools has been particularly heavy, convents, an orphanage and training farm being among the buildings hit.


We print below an account of how the Sword of the Spirit and other Catholic societies are organising the relief. On page 8 appears a typical story of the work being done night and day in a famous Catholic Night Refuge.

(Leader: The Church and War—Page 4.) Farm Street "A very great feat, in my opinion," is how the Superior of Farm Street Jesuit church in London describes the efforts of members of his community to isolate fires caused by German incendiary bombs in the church of which he is in charge.

As mentioned in our Issue of last week, the presbyter) which adjoins the church was struck by a missile during an airraid last week. and since then the church itself has been hit on two different nights, when altogether three incendiary bombs fell on the building.

Priests, Brothers and neighbours struggled successfully with two stirrup-pumps and buckets of water for over half an hour just before midnight last week to keep flaming timber which had fallen from the burning roof from spreading the blaze on to the benches in the church.


When the fire-brigade arrived it worked unceasingly till 4.30 plying the hoses on the roof, but its efforts could not prevent nearly half of it from being consumed. The roof is destroyed in its eastern section, though fortunately the flames did not pass beyond the chancel arch on to the sanctuary roof, which is also of timber. The incendiary bomb had embedded itself between the leaden and timber roofs of the church.

Everything in the church was saved, and the Blessed Sacrament was removed. There were no casualties, TWO MORE INCENDIARIES

Three nights later two incendiary bombs fell again, one on the Calvary Chapel, which was quickly brought under control by neighbours, and the second over the passage separating the sanctuary from the chapel of St. Ignatius. " We covered this second bomb with sand," said one of the priests of this church, " and put it into a bucket, and then used the stirrup-pump to quench a smouldering beam."

The church is famous for its valuable possessions. which include vestments which have now been removed to Heythrop College ; a picture of St. Francis Xavier over an altar on the Epistle side; a copy of which may be seen in the Tokyo Town Hall: and a Pugin High Altar made in Caen stone. The lovely east window had already been hoarded up prior to these events.


" The Agony chapel at the back of the church," the Superior said, " was two feet in water by the time the fire-brigade left." It is expected that a temporary roof may be built over the church, and meanwhile Mass and other services take place in a hall in the presbytery. Cardinal Hinsley was to have preached at this church on Sunday next on occasion of the fourth centenary celebrations of the Jesuit Order.

Westminster Cathedral

An unexploded bomb which fell during the night last week in the grounds of the Choir School of Westminster Cathedial, close to the private apartments of the Cardinal Archbishop, was discovered early in the morning, when it was decided to evacuate that part of the buildings at once. The bomb exploded at about .7.30 a.m., but beyond the breaking of a small pane of glass, caused no damage.

South London Cathedral When a bomb exploded in the roadway alongside a South London Cathedral, which, as announced in our issue of last week, had already suffered from air attack, over 100 holes were made in the fabric, and about two and a half tons of earth and concrete were thrown on to the roof of the Cathedral.

South-East London Church

A South-East London church, which has so far been the only building remaining intact in a large area which has suffered from repeated air attacks, had to be evacuated last week when an unexploded bomb fell at the entrance to the church. Mass was said on Sunday in other premises in the parish.

North-Western Town's


Last week-end saw another savage attack on a North-West town, resulting in the death of one priest and serious damage to churches.

The priest was killed instantly when a bomb struck the Presbytery. Another priest in the same Presbytery was seriously injured. Both were in their bedrooms at the time and were buried beneath the debris. The parish priest, a Canon, who happened to be in another part of the house escaped injury.

A bomb also exploded five yards from the door of a Jesuit Presbytery housing numerous priests. Happily there were no cograbioo, but much damage was done

to the windows and to the adjoining college. Valuable stained glass windows in the church were broken when a huge piece of masonry was hurled through the roof.

Schools in London Areas

A choir school, two convent schools, an agricultural institute, an orphanage school, were damaged. The roof of the chapel of a well-known Girls' Secondary Day School conducted by the nuns of the Sacred Heart in the SouthWest London arca, was damaged by a missile which fell through the roof. There was no explosion, and no one was injured, though normally, apart from the community, there are some two hundred pupils in the various departments: Secondary, Finishing School and Kindergarten. Except for the serious break in the roof, broken glass and furniture, there was little damage to the structure of the chapel.

Another Convent School in the SouthWest London area which has suffered considerable damage through air raids in the last week is conducted by the Marist Sisters. It was providentially spared the complete destruction which overtook properties on either side of it.

Two bombs, both of heavy calibre, fell one each side of the school. The first destroyed a block of flats and the second a row of houses. Blast from these two explosions wrecked ceilings and glass throughout the school building and convent. The convent itself was struck by an unexploded missile.

The school, which was due to reopen after the mid-summer vacation this week, had only twelve pupils apart from the community in residence. They were all safely ensconced in the cellar shelter under the building, and no one was hurt.

Southwark Rescue Society

Southwark Rescue Society has suffered badly through the recent raids. Two of their establishments have had some damage. At one in Kent, where on the same estate are two homes, one for boys conducted by the Presentation Brothers, and one -for girls under the care of the Sisters of Charity, several bombs dropped round the houses in the field belonging to the orphanages, and one bomb has completely demolished the infirmary wing of the girls' home. Though between them there are over 500 children in residence, apart from the communities which look after them, no one was hurt at all.

The bombs, which seem to have been dropped by a raider unloading hastily before making good his escape, all fell within a comparatively small area and a good deal of minor damage front blast has been sustained in both houses, much glass and many ceilings suffering.

The load fell during the night, but all the children were in their shelters in cellars under the buildings. Most of them were asleep when the first explosions occurred, and all during the whole bombardment were cool and collected.

South England Training Farm The training farm conducted by the Rescue Society, where some twenty boys prepare to return to the land, also. received a number of bombs during the severe raids at the end of last week. Four bombs fell harmlessly in their fields, one fell on a much-prized barn and burnt it out, and two incendiaries fell on the roof of the hostel.

Canadian soldiers also helped the boys with the fire, which, while it did considerable damage, was soon out.

Invalids' Home, near London

An unexploded bomb fell in the grounds of the Home for Invalids, in charge of the Alexian Brothers, near London, which suffered no damage. The bomb was removed,

Eastern Area Convents

In the area of an Eastern diocese, which has been subjected to many raids, churches and church property generally have not suffered greatly. At one town, however, night raiders seeking routes to London, unloaded quantities of incendiary bombs, striking a convent school occupying six acres. Fires blazed in many places, and the school buildings were soon a mass of flames shooting up from the sixth storey.

The greater part of the West wing was destroyed, together with the major part of the top floor of another section. The majority of the 600 girls at the school had already been evacuated, and only 20, who were in the shelters and were unhurt, were in residence.

Another convent school in a Thames Estuary town was hit by incendiary bombs, but only slight damage was done, and there were no casualties.

East Anglia Chapel-of-Ease

A chapel-of-ease situated on a building estate in East Anglia, and opened only last November, has been closed down for the time being. Air raids have caused some damage to houses on the estate, and many people have evacuated in consequence, and although the chapel is, so far. unscathed, Holy Day Masses will not be held until times are more normal.

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