The Compass House building had the misfortune to be around for both World Wars, few people know that Hull was bombed in the first World War and the second.
Between 1915 and 1918, Hull was subject to eight bomb attacks, Hull was unfortunate, as it became a target for many of the air raid attacks by accident when the zeppelins were unable to reach their intended target.
With speeds of up to 85 miles per hour and capable of carrying up to two tons of bombs, the Zeppelin wreaked havoc on the city of Hull. Bombs were dropped from heights of around 3,000 feet, most were incendiary bombs which sparked raging fires and destroyed buildings including the Holy Trinity Church.
Bombs dropped on Hull by two German Zeppelin airships, L.11 and L.14, in a 1916 WW1 raid alone caused 17 deaths and many more injuries. In September 1917 nine zeppelins dropped bombs at various points along the coast - 44 bombs fell in total, killing sixteen people. Sadly 54 people perished during 12 Zeppelin raids during WW1.
By WW2 increases in flight and explosive technology only resulted in even more death and destruction, A total of 1,243 people died in Hull. The civilian areas surrounding the docks, was where the heaviest bombing took place. On May 7th and 8th 1941 the most destructive nights of the war as far as Hull was concerned, saw over 358 high explosive bombs and 29,115 incendiary bombs rain down on the city. Civilian deaths totaled 420 and a further 34 members of the fire service and women's volunteer service also lost their lives on these nights. A further 325 people were injured during these raids.
Hull was the heaviest bombed city outside of London and suffered the most structural damage. By the end of hostilities, only 5,945 of the 92,660 homes in Hull had escaped bomb damage. 1,472 were totally destroyed, 2,882 were so badly damaged that demolition was necessary, 3,789 needed repairs beyond the scope of first aid, 11,589 were seriously damaged but patched up and 66,983 were slightly damaged. Some of the 86,715 were struck more than once, in some instances twice and thrice, so that altogether 146,915 individual damages were sustained with 152,000 people rendered temporarily homeless. There were 4,910 fires in the Hull Blitz with 27 churches and 14 schools destroyed. Of the 41,376 air raid shelters in Hull, 250 domestic shelters and 120 communal shelters were destroyed, from which more than 800 people were rescued alive.
The Kenny Building (now Compass House) was one of the earliest causality of the war what a bomb dropped on Empringham Street on the 23rd July 1940 destroying homes, it also dislodged the brickwork on the first floor front left window, this bomb caused the whole section of this brickwork to drop and the far left hand side of the window still to this day is lower than the other four windows on this floor. The brickwork above this window has never been repaired and remains to this day a reminder of those two terrible nights.
Empringham Street Bombing of 23rd July 1940