About Scoil Mhuire
News Letter
Contact Us
Local History

Campile Bombing

The Irish Press headlines on August 27th, the day after the bombing of Campile.

Devastation at Shelburne Co-Op after the bombing

The event for which our village, Campile, is most famous for is the bombing. This happened on Monday August 26th, 1940 between 1.50pm and 2.10pm.Three local girls were killed. Ireland was neutral and had no part in the war. The three who died were Mary Ellen Kent (30),  her sister Katherine Kent(26) and Kathleen Hurley(27). The Kent girls were from Terrerath and Kathleen Hurley was from Garryduff. Mary Ellen was the manageress in the restaurant and Katherine (Kitty) worked in the drapery department. Kathleen also worked in the restaurant.The Co-op was badly destroyed. The dining room or restaurant got the worst of the blast. Part of the train track was tore up. Luckily only three people were killed as 40 others had just left the restaurant or gone home for lunch.The first bomb was the fatal explosion which killed the three girls. It hit the restaurant and creamery part of the Co-op. The second bomb went through the roof and started a fire. A third bomb hit the window of the co-op and damaged the railway line. The fourth bomb landed in a field and left a massive crater or hole in the ground. Four bombs were dropped that day in Campile.

The crater made by the bomb near the railway line

The stationmaster's house was badly damaged and his hens were killed. It is said that slates went through the air like pieces of paper as did gates, doors and glass.The bombs made a terrible roar people said. Lots of people like Kitty Shannon had lucky escapes.
We also read about a lorry full of soldiers coming to help from New Ross. They overturned at the bad bend in Ballinamóna which is very close to our school and three of them were badly injured.

This is a bomb fragment  Tom Grennan from Ballykerogue gave us to look at in school. There was a great demand for bomb fragments after the bombing by souvenir hunters. 'Skillet pots' came in useful to satisfy the  crowds whe descended on Campile.

There are many reasons told why Campile was bombed. Some say that English soldiers were found with butter wrappers from the creamery by the Germans. Others say the Germans were lost and dropped their pay load as fuel may have been running low and they were returning home.The third reason is that they thought they were in Pembroke in Wales as navigation standards weren't great and it is possible English intelligence cold bend their radar and put the German plane off course. The latter two reasons are the most likely for the bombing, causing the first fatalities in Ireland during World War 2.

Josephine and Francis Mc.Crohan,daughters of the stationmaster Paul,had a lucky escape.The roof of the stationhouse was badly damaged and their fowl were killed.

Another picture of the damage caused by the bombs

A piece of the rail from the railway siding whiche travelled about a quarter of a mile away to the Rowe's of Tinnock.

Photo showing the wrecked machinery after the bombing.

The unexploded German bomb in Campile that was carted off to the Garda Station in a wheelbarrow.

Soldiers wearing gas masks due to escaping ammonia gas.

Co-Op in all its glory 2003

Memorial Plaque on Co-Op wall 

A fine Memorial Garden to remember the three girls and the Campile bombing, was unveiled in the village by Mr. Seán Connick TD on August 28th 2010. This was the 70th anniversary of the German bombing.

The three girls who died

Kitty Kent

Mary Ellen Kent

Kathleen Hurley

What Campile is like to-day

The Co-op had to be re-built but the creamery wasn't. The railway was also repaired and the other damaged buildings. We have big shops like Centra and the Co-op is now with Glanbia. There are three pubs. The Co-op has a memorial sign up for the three girls who were killed. There are four housing estates in Campile. There's a chip shop, a soccer pitch, a parochial hall, and two hair salons. There's also a Garda station,post office, a chemist and a drapery.

 In 2010 the Co-op building was demolished and this was the end of an era but its memory will live on.

Please Return to Local History