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North-East Diary

Roy Ripley &
Brian Pears
© Copyright Brian Pears 1994-2011


8th May 1941 to
31st May 1941

Thursday, 8th May 1941  D614

The minesweeping trawler 'Silicia' struck a mine and sank off the Humber.

Day 614. All times DST. Blackout ends: 05.13, begins: 22.53

Thursday, 8th/Friday, 9th May 1941  N614

Hull.. In bright moonlight, another heavy attack on Hull. As with last night, this raid assumed major proportions through the addition of aircraft diverted from another target, this time Sheffield. Between 00.00 and 03.40 - 120 enemy aircraft dropped 157 tonnes of HE and 19,467 IBs. The areas most affected were the King George, Alexandra and Victoria Docks, and east and north Hull. There was much domestic, industrial and railway damage and major fires in Hedon Road and in the timber on the docks. Casualties were once again, very heavy, and included 116 killed and 160 seriously injured.

Numerous large fires erupted all over Hull, with 150 burning at one time, the biggest was in the vicinity of the Albert and William Wright Docks and among factories along the river. Explosions and fire was reported at the Gasworks (Hull was without gas for six weeks after the attack) and a power station was destroyed. The water supply was maintained. All fires were reported to be in hand by 06.55.

Buildings destroyed or damaged during last two nights raids, include the Prudential Building at the junction of King Edward and Paragon Streets, half of the shops in the city's centre including five department stores, the large Reckitts Works, the Royal Infirmary and at the junctions of Jameson Street and Chapel Street, Jameson Street and King Street, Jameson Street and Bond Street there was complete devastation. Paragon Station was closed for a while. In Holderness Road there was a crater measuring 60ft across and on the craters edge lay the remains of the Ritz Cinema. In the 'working class area' whole streets of dwellings were destroyed.

Almost the whole of the riverside was razed by fire, Riverside Quay and Alexandra docks were damaged. Ruins along the banks of the river Hull (a small tributary of the Humber) included flour mills and stores bearing such names as Ranks - Spillers - Gilboys - Rishworth - Ingleby and Lofthouse.

A PM was dropped in the rear of 37th Avenue, North Hull, causing casualties, trapping victims and wrecking homes, yet within the hour the wardens had done their work so efficiently that it was possible to withdraw the personnel.

FIRE BRIGADES IN HULL ..... Once again the fire fighter's of Hull fought against tremendous odds. The day was spent in checking and repairing equipment and surveying the basements of shops to see if the water there could be used that night in the event of a raid, in one instance 49,000 gallons were found, and in others, lesser quantities, it was decided to use it. Shortly after midnight the sirens sounded, and it was apparent that the raid was to be similar to the previous one. This time, the target appeared to be centred on timber storage grounds, sawmills, silos and oil mills, though the centre of the city also suffered.

Early in the raid several telephone exchanges were damaged, and cables nearly severed at points where they passed under the River Hull. Communication by telephone from one half of the city to the other was difficult. Other methods were used, such as runners, the use of observation posts, the use of the private lines of the LNER signal boxes and a wireless scheme was put into operation with the assistance of the military.

Fires were reported from all areas, one notable one being at the premises of Messrs Cornelius Parish, Ltd., Anlaby Road. While this was being fought under a rain of oil bombs, IBs and HEs, a high wall collapsed killing four and injuring a number of firemen. The Central Fire Station received direct hits on several occasions, three men being killed and a number injured.

In the eastern area a fire at Messrs Ranks flour mill had been quelled and the crew just leaving when a string of oil bombs and HEs fell on the mill. It was soon obvious that the fire could not be stopped, so every effort was made to contain it, despite the fact that walls were falling and floors crashing in, while clouds of flour either blinded the firemen or made accurate observation impossible. The glare made the mill a target for the later bombers, and when a wall collapsed on the river side hundreds of tons of grain cascaded into the river. It was in this area, and at this time, that a number of terrified horses were rescued from a blazing stable. They kicked and screamed in terror, but could not be moved until the rescuers placed bags over the heads of the horses. Even when led they insisted on walking over ground where a UXB had landed, rather than face the glare coming from a row of burning shops.

Churches, theatres, picture palaces, mills, factories, hotels and tenement houses disappeared or became gaunt masses of blackened ruins, with dangerous walls which had to be pulled down. Altogether, 272 fires were attended, not so many as the previous night, but some of greater proportions. About 400 people were killed, 10,000 were made homeless and 32,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. Public utilities and communications suffered severely, and UXBs, damage to roads and the dislocation of the railway system interfered with dock working.

In her book 'Wartime Chronicle', in an extract of the entry for Tuesday 21st October 1941 Vera Brittain describes the damage to Hull thus:- "... Hull has many ruins - chiefly in King Edward Street and Bond Street. Their big blitz occurred one night last May, when some of the largest shops were bombed out or burned.

Morning was beautiful. Found station& Royal Station Hotel undamaged (They also had siren here last night from 8.30 till midnight.) Chief things noticed: (1) Opposite station you see the gaunt burnt-out skeleton of Hammonds, where Winifred and I often shopped and had meals ... top floor cafe ... now a few remnants of scorched stone open to the four winds. (2) ... the burnt-out buildings of the Midland Bank& Sugg Ltd the Sports Suppliers. (3) The big Electricity Building to the left of the station has been damaged but not destroyed; boarded up windows carry the notice: "Our window displays are reversed; come and see them from the inside".

(4) Found my way along wide, partly damaged but still recognisable thoroughfare to the Peace Centre at the corner of Prospect Street where I spoke in February. Heard later that shop was not blown up or burned but damage done by blast which blew everything out of it, including a CO who had been sleeping there because he did not get on with his family. Being a heavy sleeper& rather deaf he did not notice the raid and was blown, bed& all, right out of the Centre. Was as black as a cinder when he went home to his family but quite uninjured - a miraculous escape. Today the words "The Peace Centre" remain undamaged above the blown-out lower floor where I had tea - no furniture or goods left there - only the usual swept-up debris of bricks, glass& torn paper. Upper room where I spoke similarly windowless. Door in lower room at back swinging on hinge.

(5) King Edward Street worst damaged of all; Co-op burnt out, also Brown's bookshop& many others ... With his back to the ruins of the Co-op., the statue of Andrew Marvell, Hull's most famous citizen, stands serenely undamaged& scarcely even blackened. (6) Went on as directed by notice on ruins to Brown's new bookshop at 24-26 George Street, close by saw Mr Williamson the Manager, who told me that their shop was undamaged by the actual raid& only caught fire from the other buildings at 03.00. They lost all their stock of books but no members of staff ... " - An interesting account from an interesting source.

During the night, among German aircraft losses were these three Heinkel 111s, all shot down by Defiants during the attack on Hull. The first crashed at Wellings Farm, Patrington, near Hull at 01.30. Four of the crew were killed and one captured - the second force landed at Long Riston, near Hull at 01.40 two of the crew were killed and two captured - and the third crashed at Sunk Island Road, Patrington, near Hull at 02.00. Three of the crew were killed, one captured and one listed as missing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Due to the complexity in editing the details of the air raids on Hull on 7/8.5.41 and 8/9.5.41 this extra entry has been inserted to avoid missing any information, even though some may be duplicated.

The alert on the first night lasted from 23.16 to 05.08, and on the second from 00.05 to 05.55. It is known that upwards of 300 high explosive missiles were dropped, these included PMs and GMs. Some 40 of them failed to explode and each one was a menace for a considerable time. The IBs, flares and oil bombs, numbered thousands.

There were 2,600 wardens on duty each evening, many of them becoming casualties, six, unfortunately, fatal. In addition many of their posts were damaged, and some destroyed, which meant the setting up new centres, since the wardens could not work without a base.

Nearly 130 Rescue parties operated, some of them consisting of military parties, which meant that the City Engineer who was in charge, had 1,500 personnel to direct. They attended more than 100 incidents, in which seventy rescue operations were required, nearly 700 persons were rescued from the wreckage, 279 were dead.

The Casualty Service had had upwards of 600 staff on duty and nearly 130 vehicles for first-aid party work. They took 550 casualties to first aid posts or the hospitals, where magnificent work was done, even when the raids were still in progress, sometimes in buildings bereft of roofs and windows and even on fire. Doctors attended people who were wounded and trapped by falling girders, women ambulance drivers drove through walls of fire to reach their destinations or convey their patients somewhere for treatment . There was no place of safety.

With the sounding of the " All Clear " came mobile canteens distributing hot drinks and food to working parties and the homeless. They had made their preparations during the raid and not gone to shelter.

During the two nights hundreds of fires were put out by members of the various services and the general public. As soon as the IBs fell they were tackled. Even so, the fire brigades had to deal with approximately 800 fires. The city centre, King Edward Street, Jameson Street, Prospect Street, became a mass of flames, most of the large stores, hotels, restaurants, and numerous small shops were destroyed.

Industrial plants in all parts of the city suffered damage, as did the Guildhall, the City Hall, and Prudential Buildings at the corner of King Edward Street. The high tower of the Prudential Buildings had to be demolished the next day for public safety. Wholesale and retail markets were destroyed, as were warehouses and office property. The Riverside Quay was gutted, timber stacks burned, sending skywards, sparks to ignite other property. Rank's flour mill was put out of action, 3,000 houses were either wrecked or seriously damaged, 9,000 had doors and windows torn out of their frames, and 50,000 suffered minor damage from blast, bombs or shrapnel.

The telephone department had 14,000 faults to deal with, though their administrative office was destroyed, a main cable containing 2,000 pairs of wires was put out of action, four fifths of the telephone system was put out of action, while in the eastern sector only five official phones were available.

A direct hit from HE, set fire to the main Corporation bus depot, destroying a number of double-deck buses. All that was left were the blackened walls and a tangled mass of metal.

The gas supply in East Hull ceased, 200 mains having been damaged and others flooded.

The Electricity Department had 6,000 calls to deal with "faults," but the general supply of electricity was maintained except in areas immediately surrounding the point of impact.

Railway lines were hit at many points, and several suburban services were out of action for some time, making an extra call on the buses available. Bread supplies in some districts were affected, but assistance from out of town soon eased this source of worry.

On May 7th, out of 7,350 people using the reception centres all but 400 were found accommodation elsewhere the following day, making room for another 7,000 on May 8th. In those two nights more than 40,000 people had to be helped, the homeless shepherded to reception centres, terrified children pacified, scattered relatives put in touch with each other. The work was done efficiently and so humanely that the reputation of the WVS soared to greater heights. 9,000 people were evacuated under the control of the Director of Education and his department.

The casualties on those two nights totalled 1,200, 400 being fatal. So many were unidentified or unidentifiable that on May 12th there was communal funeral for 200. To avoid crowds, the impending ceremony was not made known to the general public, but the tragedy and grief of the relatives present was so overwhelming that it was decided never to repeat the ceremony if possible means existed to avoid it.

Main roads were open to traffic two or three days later, a considerable feat when there were blockages or craters at 160 places, while on 50 roads passage was impossible.

Hull became greatly indebted to the 2,000 military who helped by taking on rescue work, directing traffic, demolishing dangerous buildings, and running transport. Indebted too, to the many East and West Riding units who responded to the calls for assistance. It is worth mentioning that officials of the Dogs Home and the RSPCA, together with other animal lovers, dealt with 700 domestic pets, not hesitating to enter dangerous buildings to rescue them.

A system for salvaging household effects proved useful following the raids, the articles in 2809 homes were dealt with, thanks to the system prepared and followed, no difficulty was experienced in tracing the movements of the salvaged furniture or other household contents.

At one such incident on May 8th, a messenger, working with a 14-stone policeman saved the life of the latter by dragging him from a blazing garage to a wardens' post when he had been temporarily blinded by blast from a HE. Then, with bombs still falling, he took a message to a first aid post. He found the post destroyed, so he cycled on to another centre for assistance. He finished the evening by rescuing people from the debris of a demolished house.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Night 614. All times DST. Blackout begins: 22.53, ends: 05.11
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 00.05, All Clear: 05.55

Friday, 9th May 1941  D615

Pilot Officer Albert Ernest John Thorne died when the "service aeroplane" of which he was a pilot crashed to the ground in a field near West Pastures Road, West Boldon.

Day 615. All times DST. Blackout ends: 05.11, begins: 22.55

Friday, 9th/Saturday, 10th May 1941  N615

01.20.. Hull.. Four HEs dropped in the Sutton area, they all fell in fields, causing neither damage or casualties. Before midnight the sirens went again, and a third night of raids was expected and prepared for, few of the enemy made landfall, and with exception of the four bombs at Sutton, little happened except the strain of a five hour stand-by for officials and civilians alike, all by now, exhausted.

Yorkshire.. Six fires reported in Scarborough.

Night 615. All times DST. Blackout begins: 22.55, ends: 05.09
Public Alert (Newcastle Warning Dist): 00.39, All-Clear: 04.28
Industrial Alarm: 00.55, Release: 01.40
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 23.40, All Clear: 05.55

Saturday, 10th May 1941  D616

Ten air raid warnings in past fortnight. IBs and HE. At one incident there were fifty deaths. The majority would have been avoided if they had taken shelter. An air raid alert was in effect.

Day 616. All times DST. Blackout ends: 05.09, begins: 22.57

Saturday, 10th/Sunday, 11th May 1941  N616

Yorkshire.. A night attack on Linton on Ouse airfield near York, caused damage and several casualties including the Station Commander, who was killed.

23.05.. Messerschmitt Bf 110 (3869). Crashed at Floors Farm, Bonnyton Moor, Glasgow. Flown from Augsburg by Deputy Führer, Rudolph Hess, on what is taken to have been a peace mission. Hess baled out, was taken prisoner and died while in prison at Spandau in August 1987. Aircraft VJ+OQ wrecked.

Night 616. All times DST. Blackout begins: 22.57, ends: 05.07

Sunday, 11th/Monday, 12th May 1941  N617

Bombs were dropped on Newcastle, Amble, Bockenfield, Acklington and Eshott in Northumberland, Billingham, Whickham, Stockton, Darlington, Tanfield, North Hylton, Darlington, Ireshopeburn and Hartlepool in Co Durham and Middlesbrough, Northallerton, Thornaby and Hull in Yorkshire.

01.45.. Newcastle.. In brilliant moonlight, Jesmond was attacked, a few IBs dropped in Reid Park Road and St George's Terrace. IBs near St George's Church. Small fire 122 St George's Terrace, used as furniture repository, caused by IB. Dealt with by fire brigade.

01.50.. Newcastle.. HEs in Jesmond area. One HE on 4 Farquhar Street, house demolished, three occupants to hospital, one of the injured, a man, later died - One HE on the roadway of Buston Terrace, yard walls demolished - One HE on the roadway of Devonshire Place, roadway damaged - Suspected UXB 12 Grosvenor Road, evacuated three houses either side, people opposite told to stay farthest from bomb - Two HE in Towers Avenue - Windows of vicarage of Catholic Church broken. Tree across roadway - One HE on 23 Sturdee Gdns - house extensively damaged, one woman injured, later died. An unusual feature of this raid was a double smoke screen seen in the sky. It has never been fully explained.

02.33.. Northumberland.. Four HEs in a field E of Chevington Wood (Maiden Hall Farm) [NZ231983]. IBs at Amble Junction [NZ224983].

02.40.. Northumberland.. One UXB in a field 114 yards S of Bockenfield Tilery.

Northumberland.. HEs and IBs reported near RAF Acklington and RAF Eshott.

00.42-02.30.. Co Durham.. One HE fell in a field at Tanfield Village but caused only slight damage to windows and doors.

Co Durham.. West Hartlepool was attacked by a single aircraft as a alternative target.

Co Durham.. Five HEs fell on a refuse tip at North Hylton causing damage to doors and windows.

Co Durham.. Three HEs fell at Sunniside, Whickham demolishing three houses and damaging others. A man died at Fernville Avenue and six people were injured.

Co Durham.. Two HEs fell at Beaumont Hill, Darlington near the LNER line causing no damage.

Co Durham.. Three HEs and fifty IBs were dropped at Eaglescliffe causing damage to buildings. One person injured.

00.30-02.10.. Co Durham.. Billingham.. A large chemical works at Billingham was attacked by nineteen enemy aircraft between 00.30 and 02.10 they dropped twenty-seven tons of HE (twenty-five bombs) and 1,584 IBs. Two HEs fell in field beside LNER line causing no damage. Four HEs fell in the Cassell Works of the ICI Ltd causing slight damage to plant. IBs fell on residential property which were quickly controlled. 200 IBs were dropped on the Nitrates Plant of ICI Ltd causing slight damage.

Co Durham.. Weardale.. Eight HEs fell near Ireshopeburn. No damage.

Co Durham.. Stockton.. Seven HEs fell on Stockton. One near St Peters Church in St Peters Rd, one in Northcote Street and Dennison Street, three near St Pauls Church and Oxbridge Cemetery, one on the Bowesfield Steelworks premises and one near the railway line beside Bromley Road and Hartburn Avenue.

Worst damage and casualties were near St Peters Church where several properties had to be demolished (85,87,89 Northcote Street, including Ferri's ice cream shop (a forty-four year old woman died here); 1,2,3,4 St Peters Road; 19,21,23 Dennison Street). A family which had moved from near Thornaby Aerodrome to 2 St Peters Road, Stockton a week or so earlier for safety reasons were killed in their new home, they were a forty year old man, his thirty-two year old wife and their three week old baby boy. Other casualties were a sixty-nine year old man, a forty-nine year old nurse and a four year old girl, all from St Peters Road.

The blast caused extensive damage to windows and roofs in the area including Stockton and Thornaby Hospital in Bowesfield Lane. A 33" water main in Northcote Street was ruptured interrupting water supplies to homes, fire hydrants and industry for nearly a week. Supplies over much of Teesside were affected. Near St Pauls Church a bomb demolished numbers 5 and 7 Grays Road next to the ARP Wardens Post. A fifty-five year old engineer and firewatcher of 7 Grays Road was killed just minutes after stepping out of the family shelter; his wife and family were unhurt. The windows of St Pauls Sunday School were damaged. The two other HE in this area fell in Wrensfield, one 150 yards south-west of the old corn mill on the moor and the other alongside Lustrum Beck about 150 yards from where the firewatcher was killed, six people were injured.

Co Durham.. Hartlepool.. HEs and IBs fell in the Lumley Square - Helmsley Square area near the Headlands, twelve people were killed.

Yorkshire.. Middlesbrough was raided, and one person was killed.

Yorkshire.. The County Hall and other buildings at Northallerton suffered damage.

Yorkshire.. Four HE fell at Thornaby near Sun Street Corporation Depot down by the Old Wharf. One fell in a field and the other three were embedded in the river bank and caused no damage.

01.15.. Hull.. Seven HEs dropped in Clifton Street and Albany Street, and the Beverley Road and Sutton areas. One of the bombs did not explode because the bomb casing split open. There was some residential damage. Four people were killed and three seriously injured.

Night 617. All times DST. Blackout begins: 22.59, ends: 05.05
Public Alert (Newcastle Warning Dist): 00.16, All-Clear: 03.06
Industrial Alarm: 00.26, Release: 02.20
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 00.20, All Clear: 03.45

Monday, 12th May 1941  D618

'SS Richard De Larrinaga' (5,358t) outward bound for the St Lawrence, was bombed by enemy aircraft, 4 cables N of 20R Buoy and she sank in Frenchman's Bay, 500yds E of Trow Rocks, off the Tyne. Her remains are spread over a wide area.

'SS Fowberry Tower' (4,484t) on a voyage from Hull to the US, was sunk by German aircraft off the Humber. Six of her crew were lost.

Day 618. All times DST. Blackout ends: 05.05, begins: 23.01

Tuesday, 13th May 1941  D619

Co Durham.. Incidents reported from the mouth of the Tees where some machine-gunning took place and caused one casualty.

Hull.. Clifton Street, Albany Street, Beverley Road and Princes Dock were hit..

Day 619. All times DST. Blackout ends: 05.03, begins: 23.03

Tuesday, 13th/Wednesday, 14th May 1941  N619

A Junkers Ju 88 shot down by AA gunfire from the patrol boat 'Protective', crashed into the sea off Spurn Head at 00.32. Two of the crew were killed.

23.05.. Co Durham.. An enemy aircraft machine gunned Seaton Grange Farm and Mainsforth Terrace, West Hartlepool injuring a man.

Night 619. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.03, ends: 05.01
Public Alert: 23.14, All-Clear: 23.44

Thursday, 15th/Friday, 16th May 1941  N621

Night operations by thirty-nine bombers and fourteen night fighters. They took part in minor scattered attacks which included Newcastle, Scarborough and Middlesbrough's dock installations.

04.08-04.15.. Newcastle.. Two HE at Walker Naval Yard. One exploded in the moulders' loft over the platers' shop and extensively damaged the roof. The other fell on a jetty between two incomplete ships on the stocks buckling one or two plates - also tore up a considerable distance of railway track on the jetty. Small fire extinguished by the Naval Yard AFS. Three workmen suffering from shock, treated by works first aid and sent home. Bombs from solitary plane using cloud cover. Bombs supposed to be armour-piercing. Two holes in gasometer (400 yards from the bombs) at St Anthony's about 70' from the ground on the east side and 50' from the ground on the west side (they turned out to be a cannon shell penetrations). A fire on the west side was extinguished by fire brigade - NFS from C2 and East End Brigade.

Night 621. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.06, ends: 04.57

Friday, 16th/Saturday, 17th May 1941  N622

Yorkshire.. Middlesbrough.. The middle section of a shelter in Queen Mary Street was lifted off its foundations. Three women and three children inside suffered only minor injuries.

Night 622. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.08, ends: 04.56

Sunday, 18th/Monday, 19th May 1941  N624

Night 624. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.11, ends: 04.53
Public Alert: 23.08, All-Clear: 23.52

Thursday, 22nd May 1941  D628

'SS Barnby' (4,813t) cargo ship, Canada to Hull was sunk by U 111, SW of Iceland.

Day 628. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.48, begins: 23.18

Saturday, 24th May 1941  D630

Day 630. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.45, begins: 23.21
Public Alert: 06.55, All-Clear: 07.06

Sunday, 25th/Monday, 26th May 1941  N631

Night 631. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.23, ends: 04.42
Public Alert: 23.12, All-Clear: 00.10

Monday, 26th May 1941  D632

There were bombs in the sea off Sunderland.

Day 632. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.42, begins: 23.24
Public Alert: 13.18, All-Clear: 14.19
Industrial Alarm: 13.07, Release: 13.57

Tuesday, 27th/Wednesday, 28th May 1941  N633

Night 633. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.26, ends: 04.40
Public Alert: 18.34, All-Clear: 18.42

Wednesday, 28th May 1941  D634

Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food, announced experimental egg rationing, and further restrictions on fish and milk.

Day 634. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.40, begins: 23.27

Wednesday, 28th/Thursday, 29th May 1941  N634

Eighty enemy raiders reported over the country, some over the East Coast.

01.57.. Hull.. SW Hull, in the region of Dairycoates, St.Andrew's Dock and Priory Sidings raided. One IB cluster, two 250kg HEs and one 500kg HE fell, the last mentioned did not explode. No fires were started, a little railway damage done. Few casualties were reported.

Night 634. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.27, ends: 04.38
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 00.12, All Clear: 04.50

Thursday, 29th May 1941  D635

Day 635. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.38, begins: 23.29
Public Alert: 17.50, All-Clear: 18.19
Industrial Alarm: 17.52, Release: 18.01

Friday, 30th May 1941  D636

'SS Westavon' (2,842t) cargo ship, Hartlepool to London with a cargo of coal, was sunk by a mine in the Thames Estuary.

Day 636. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.37, begins: 23.30

Saturday, 31st May 1941  D637

Newcastle.. Long after a bomb had exploded, the crater that remained was capable of dealing out death. A little seven year old girl, who had on this day, been playing among debris in Back Tarset Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, disappeared into a 10' deep bomb crater ( possibly a camouflet ), an 11 year old Boy Scout tied a rope around his body and went to her rescue. He also succumbed to the fumes and some adults who had witnessed the incident called for help. Two firemen who were passing by at the time promptly entered the crater in search of the children were also overcome by the gas, so the Fire Brigade were sent for.

Completely without protection against the fumes and fully aware that the previous attempts had proved fatal, Fireman Larry Young assisted by Leading Fireman Bruce descended into the crater in search of the victims. Leading Fireman Bruce collapsed in the poisonous atmosphere, but was rescued by Young, who then recovered the bodies of the other four victims.

Fireman Young was invested with the George Medal on 2nd December 1941 at Buckingham Palace. Leading Fireman Bruce was commended for his part in the rescue attempt and one of the victims, Auxiliary Fireman Wanless, was awarded a posthumous commendation.

Day 637. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.36, begins: 23.31

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