Although Sherborne was not an important German target during World War II the town did suffer an air raid on 30th September 1940. The intended main target for the raid had been the Westland Aircraft factory at Yeovil but due to cloud cover the Germans missed their target that day. Instead, the bombs were dropped on Sherborne. The town sustained substantial damage and number of buildings were destroyed. Bombs fell near to Sherborne Abbey but apart from broken windows the Abbey was not damaged. However, eighteen people were killed. Their names are recorded at the town’s war memorial by the Abbey alongside those of 29 American soldiers.
On the 30th March 1944 there was an accident in the grounds of US Army Hospital 228th Camp Unit near Sherborne. A truck rolled back over a live mine, whilst the troops were recovering mines at the end of a mine-laying exercise. The colossal explosion hit C Company. In 1989 a plaque was placed outside Sherborne Abbey to honour those killed.
During World War II Sherborne Castle served as Commando Headquarters for the D-Day landings.