July 10th Falmouth Bombing Raids

On this day in 1940, South Cornwall experienced its first bombing raid of the war.  Off Falmouth, one ship was sunk and two were burnt out, killing four people and injuring thirty-six.  There was also bombing of Looe and Millbrook and it appears that the target was actually Plymouth.

The rivers Fal and Helford became extremely important in the Second World War.  Thousands of American soldiers departed from the beaches on the Helford and the Fal, as part of the D-Day attack, whilst Falmouth was a regular target throughout the rest of the war.

Falmouth became bombed so frequently that a dummy Falmouth was constructed on the cliffs around and including Nare Point. Brightly lit at night whilst Falmouth was subject to the black out, the idea was that the decoy site would appear to be a badly blacked out town.  Fifteen foot long trays were filled with various combinations of diesel, wood and coke and placed on top of electrically controlled sparking devices while there were also oil tanks filled with tar or sand and explosives.  The devices could be set alight remotely from a control centre on the cliff to simulate an exploding ship, burning houses and destroyed factories. 

By 1944, however, the Nazis had become aware of the deceit and attempted to bomb Nare Point but caused no damage and no injuries as the bombs all hit the water.

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