Stanley, the son of Edward Johnson was born in 1934. In 1943 he was living in Brook Street but the family had moved there during the previous three years as there is no record of them in Brook Street in 1939.
On Wednesday 20/01/1943 Lewes suffered an air raid. This was not the first raid on the town, nor would it be the last. However during the two year period from January 1941 to January 1943 there had been nearly 400 soundings of the sirens with no follow up raid, and people were perhaps becoming a little complacent. The ‘immediate danger’ signal was sounded at 12:40 as eight aircraft were spotted travelling at rooftop height coming from the Northwest. It was later understood that they formed part of a large force attacking isolated villages and houses across Sussex. The planes that attacked Lewes were part of the second wave that crossed the coast near Eastbourne, travelled about 15 miles inland before returning across the coast near Brighton.
Six bombs in total were dropped, which all exploded. The first fell to the rear of Chandler’s Yard in Brook Street, the second, dropped at very low level, scored several rooftops before hitting the road and finishing near the old Naval prison where it blew up cratering the road outside the old Stag Inn at the corner of East and North Streets. The third fell to the rear of West Street, the fourth behind numbers 39 and 41 New Road, the fifth further up New Road and the sixth behind houses in Elm Grove.
There were a total of two fatalities, eleven serious injuries needing hospital treatment plus numerous minor injuries. There was damage to 370 properties of which 15 had to be demolished, mainly those in the North Street area. One of the fatalities was young Stanley Johnson. He had been sent by his mother from his home in Brook Street to buy bread from the shop in North Street.
Surprisingly the only mention of the raid in the Sussex Express and County Herald is half a page in the issue for 22/02/1943, and much of that is taken up by pictures of the damaged houses. The headline refers to two deaths but no names are given. I can also not find any reference to Stanley’s burial. I am beginning to suspect that he may have been an evacuee since I can find no other information about him, except on the CWGC civilian death record and the official registration of his death in Lewes.
The Lewes War Memorial records two civilians killed during the war, but does not name them. It is assumed that one of them was Stanley.