A SPECIAL service is being held next weekend to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing of an historic village church near Shipston.

On December 12, 1940, the 12th century St Peter’s Church in Whatcote was badly damaged when bombs were dropped on the quiet south Warwickshire village.

One of the bombs, believed to have been dropped by a German bomber following a raid on Birmingham, landed on the church, which has a Norman nave, leaving it with a gaping hole in its roof.

“It was quite badly damaged by one of 10 or 11 bombs that landed on the village,” said Parochial Church Council secretary June Wreford. “It obliterated the porch and the best part of the nave.

“A tarpaulin was put over the church and remained there until 1947 when the church was rebuilt”.

Mrs Wreford added: “The churchwarden thought it happened following a raid on Birmingham.

“The story I heard was the pilot saw a naked light and wanted to get rid of his stick of bombs to lighten his load.”

A special service of commemoration is being held in the church at 3.30pm on Sunday, December 12. There will also be a small exhibition of photographs of the damaged church and a fragment of the bomb that did the damage.

It is hoped that people who lived in the area at the time and may have witnessed the bombing, or whose family lived in the village at the time, will attend the service, which will be led by Reverend Nicholas Morgan.

Tea will be served after the service to give the congregation time to reminisce.