The Port of Ipswich at War display intends to illustrate the extent to which the Port of Ipswich suffered, defended, and fought back during the Second World War. Shown in this display through the contribution of its skilled engineering workforce and seafaring community, many fascinating stories of the port-town during the war are still within living memory for the people of Ipswich. The display exhibits two German maps used to identify bombing targets in Ipswich, together with the propeller blade from a Focke-Wulf 190 fighter-bomber which, having bombed Myrtle Road, crashed to the east of the dock lock-gates.
The large map of the town’s key buildings and infrastructure shows the extent to which detailed invasion planning was being made by Hitler. This highly secret Luftwaffe map gave detailed instructions to German pilots of their targets within the Ipswich dock area, many of which were subsequently hit, as shown in some of the photographs on display.
While Ipswich was never the victim of blitz bombing on the scale suffered by cities such as London and Coventry, it was, nevertheless, subjected to considerable air attack, both in the First and Second World Wars. In fact, by 1940, the British Government was forced to reverse its decision to evacuate the children of London to the town, and instead began a large-scale evacuation of Ipswich’s children to safer parts of the country. This was organised, at very short notice, by local street wardens, detailing the train to leave on, and the child’s destination. Ipswich felt the affects of the war as many port-towns and industrial centres did and this display attempts to show this though various photos of some of the destruction caused around the port, as well as photos of how people around the port helped with the war effort, making all kinds of armaments and war goods and providing emergency services.