Berkhamsted was fortunate in that it did not suffer great loss of life during the Second World War. Two incidents do however stand out in the memory of the dwindling number of people of Sunnyside, who are old enough to remember the events. Those events were the bombing of the railway bridge at the bottom of Ivy House Lane, in November 1940, thought to have been carried out by enemy aircraft returning from a mission to Coventry, following the line of the railway. The second was the crashing of a Tomahawk Fighter in Ellesmere Road, close to New Street in 1941.
The first incident caused a great deal of inconvenience but thankfully no loss of life. This fact cannot be disputed, nor that it was some time before even a footbridge was provided and several more years before the road bridge was repaired. Admittedly the number of years may have increased with the telling, and memory become clouded by the passage of time but references in the Parochial Church Council minutes and memories recalled and quoted in The Story of Sunnyside provide enough evidence to verify the event.
Much mystery has however grown up around the second event. The tragic loss of life of the pilot of this Tomahawk aircraft has become shrouded in mystery. In spite of perusing the careful list of artefacts associated with WWII in the Society’s collection and searching for a possible unidentified funeral in the church records in 1941 we are really no nearer to answering these questions. Can anyone come up with the answers?
Jennifer Sherwood, Chronicle v.XVII (Mar 2020).