The war memorial behind the altar in the church of the Holy Spirit, Harlescott, Shrewsbury is one of only a few in the county which includes the names of civilians. The names are those of Jessie Broxton, Margaret Meredith and John Meredith.
The bombing took place in September 1940 when German attacks on civilian British targets were at their height. The following week’s Shrewsbury Chronicle carried a full report but, respecting wartime security requirements, referred to it only as having taken place on “the outskirts of a large market town in the Midlands”. The details given however must have made its location plain, to local residents at least. The report describes how “…two high explosive bombs were dropped one of which struck the cottage and destroyed it, while another buried itself in the road-way nearby. The woman, who had retired to bed with her two small grand-children was Mrs Jessie Mary Broxton, and the children were Margaret Eileen Meredith, aged six, and John Terence Meredith, aged four, whose mother lives at Llangollen. The husband, William Broxton, was down-stairs when the bomb struck the house, enjoying a final smoke before retiring. Five minutes after Mrs Broxton had gone to bed he heard her call “Oh, Bill” and the next minute the bomb exploded and he was buried. When the rescue party arrived they found him buried under five or six feet of debris, but on extricating found him suffering only from slight shock and some cuts on the arm. In a different part of the debris a dog was found also very slightly injured, and when a large piece of debris had been pushed aside he emerged from his ‘nest’ wagging his tail”. The report goes on to describe how two neighbours, a Mr Carter and a Mr Bebb, were on the scene within minutes, closely followed by the local police. There was nothing they could do however to save Mrs Broxton and her two small grandchildren.