Second World War Dorset bomb map on display

Bomb detective: John Comben with the map he created

Bomb detective: John Comben with the map he created

First published in News by

A pensioner who plotted the location of every bomb which fell on Dorset in the Second World War is celebrating now his work is on display in West Dorset.

John Comben successfully charted each explosive dropped by the Luftwaffe between 1939 and 1945.

And now he wants to thank everyone who helped him with his work, which is available for all to see at The Keep Military Museum, Dorchester.

In 2010, Mr Comben, of Poundbury, appealed for witnesses and anyone who knows where devices landed during the Second World War to get in touch.

He said: “Most people think Dorset got away lightly during the war – that it was a safe place.

“It’s important to know that this wasn’t the case. I think it is important that the bombs are recorded. I wanted to know about all the bombs which landed, exploded and left a crater.

“We needed to do this before the older generations which witnessed it go off to the pearly gates.”

Mr Comben added: “They think that Dorset escaped the bombs because evacuees were sent here. But Dorset had its fair share of bombs.

“Many were never recorded or photographed.

“A bomb would drop in a field and a farmer would just fill the crater in and plough over it.”

Widower Mr Comben, who has one son, plotted the location of the bombs on an Ordnance Survey map. He said: “I want to thank everyone who helped me with this. The only way I could have contacted them was by people contacting me.

“And we had to do it while there are still people living who would have witnessed the bombs falling.”

Mr Comben was born in Bovington and later moved to Holton Heath where his father worked in the cordite factory for shells.

Mr Comben, who was 13 at the outbreak of the war, said: “I have a good, clear memory of the war and the bombings. You never had the time to think so it wasn’t frightening as such.”

Comments (1)

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9:29am Thu 11 Sep 14

Time_Traveller says...

Dorset certainly didn't get away with it lightly, as Mr Comben rightly says. I had ancestors who died at Hamworthy after a bomb landed there and another who was killed while working as a housemaid at the Metropole Hotel in Bournemouth 1943.

Thank you for your hard work in putting together this amazing piece of history! I look forward to going to see it over the next few weeks.
Dorset certainly didn't get away with it lightly, as Mr Comben rightly says. I had ancestors who died at Hamworthy after a bomb landed there and another who was killed while working as a housemaid at the Metropole Hotel in Bournemouth 1943. Thank you for your hard work in putting together this amazing piece of history! I look forward to going to see it over the next few weeks. Time_Traveller
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