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Old Palace School Bombing WW2 Largest ever loss of life for The London Fire Brigade

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  • Old Palace School Bombing WW2 Largest ever loss of life for The London Fire Brigade

    My first ever post so go easy on me..............not sure if its in the right section so feel free to move as required.





    This is the account of the Bombing of the Old Palace School in St. Leonard’s Street, Bow during WW2 and the sad loss of 32 Firemen and 2 Fire Women who were tragically killed during this raid.This is still today, the largest loss of Fire Brigade personnel, at one incident, in the History of the service.

    Tragically for me, one of those that lost their life that night was my Great Aunt, Winifred Alexandra Peters (nee Wootton).

    Prior to this bombing raid on the early hours of 20th April 1941, London was in the middle of its biggest bombing campaign of the entire war from the German Luftwaffe, known as the Blitz. For eight months, from 7th September 1940 to May 11th 1941 London suffered almost continual nightly bombing, over a period of almost 37 weeks, the British capital was attacked 71 times.

    During the war many schools were left empty due to children being evacuated to the country. The Old Palace LCC School in St. Leonards Street, Poplar, was one of these, and was commandeered during the war, for use as a Sub Fire Station, for firefighters of the Auxiliary Fire Service. On the night of Sunday April 20th 1941, Fire Service crews were standing by in anticipation of a heavy raid on the Capital. At precisely 1.53am, a land mine, dropped from a Luftwaffe bomber and landed directly on the school. The land mine landed on the roof of the school and dropped down a stairwell and into the watch room where two women were killed outright. The men waiting outside were caught by the blast, which also demolished two thirds of the school building, and they were buried by falling masonry. Rescue services, already hard-pressed, arrived too late for any lives to be saved.

    Thirty-two firemen and two firewomen died at The Old Palace School, the largest number of Fire Brigade lives lost in a single incident, in peacetime or war.



    https://chiddicksfamilytree.com/2017...l-ww2-bombing/







    Those that sadly lost their lives are as follows:

    AFS Firewoman (Telephonist) Hilda Dupree – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 21, of Warwick Road, Walthamstow, Essex.
    Firewoman Winifred Alexandra Peters – London Fire Brigade

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 39, of Canton Street
    AFS Fireman Percy Charles Aitchison – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 27, of Copse Avenue, West Wickham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman Ronald Mark Bailey – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 25, of Links Road, Tooting.
    AFS Fireman Alan Charles Barber – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 26, of Fairford Close, Shirley, Croydon, Surrey.
    AFS Fireman Earnest Reginald Beadle – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 32, of Birkbeck Road, Beckenham.
    AFS Fireman Kenneth John Bowles – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 30, of Beckenham Road, West Wickham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman John Coleman Burrell – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 35, of North Street, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
    AFS Fireman Patrick Joseph Campbell – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 24, of Bannister House, Homerton
    AFS Fireman Harry John Carden – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 29, of Mounthurst Road, Hayes, Bromley, Kent.
    AFS Fireman Robert John Deans – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 28, of The Grove, West Wickham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman Frank James Endean – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 36, of Aviemore Way, Beckenham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman Cecil Farley – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 43, of Linden Leas, West Wickham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman George John Joseph Hall – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 43, of Warwick Road, Anerley, Kent.
    AFS Messenger Bertie James Frederick Harris – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 17, of Brabazon Street,
    AFS Fireman Leslie Thomas Healey– AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 32, of Greenview Avenue, Shirley, Surrey.
    AFS Despatch Rider Ernest Herbert Henly _ AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 19, of Grange Cottage, Silver Street, Kinton Langley, Chippenham, Wiltshire.
    AFS Fireman Sydney Bartholomew Jones – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 31, of Harrogate Road, Hackney.
    AFS Fireman Albert Victor Kite – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 36, of Village Way, Beckenham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman John Francis Mead– AFS

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 29, of Christie Road, Hackney.
    AFS Fireman Vernon Joseph Middleditch – AFS

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 31, of Hunders Lane, Darlington, Co. Durham.
    AFS Fireman Alfred Edward Minter – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 46, of Aylesford Avenue, Beckenham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman Norman Richard Charles Mountjoy – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 30, of Ash Grove, West Wickham, Kent
    AFS Fireman Frederick George Parcell – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 32, of Love Lane, South Norwood, Surrey.
    AFS Fireman Martin Charles Parfett – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 31, of Pickhurst Rise, West Wickham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman William Charles Plant – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 26, of Sultan Street, Beckenham, Kent.
    AFS Fireman Cyril Bertram Porter – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 31, of Clinton Road, Forest Gate, Essex.
    AFS Fireman William Thomas Rashbrook – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 31, of Chatsworth Road, Clapton.
    AFS Leading Fireman Leonard Roots – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 31, of Avenue Court, Avenue Road, Anerley, Kent.
    AFS Fireman Albert Alfred Saville – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 35, of Harrowgate Road, Hackney.
    Station Officer Richard William Sinstadt – London Fire Brigade

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 46, of Beccles Drive, Barking, Essex.
    AFS Fireman Edgar William Vick – AFS London

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 38, of Eden Way, Beckenham, Kent.
    AFS Leading Fireman Walter John Woodland – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 41, of Links Way, Eden Park, Beckenham, Kent.
    AFS Leading Fireman Herbert Charles Wotton – AFS Beckenham

    Died 20th April 1941 aged 30, of Upper Elmers End Road, Beckenham, Kent.

    This story remained unpublished because of emergency Defense Regulations.

    The full details were finally uncovered six decades later by the Firemen Remembered charity which unveiled a memorial in April, 1997, at Lansbury Lawrence Primary School, on the site of the old school destroyed 56 years before.

    “In memory of the 13 London firemen and women and 21 Beckenham firemen killed on the night of 19th April 1941 when a bomb destroyed the old school being used as a sub-fire station.”

    Two weeks after my Great Aunt sadly lost her life here, my own mother was born and she was named after her Aunt, Winifred Alexandra Wootton.


    Many thanks to the following websites which have contributed in the production of this blog.

    https://www.londonremembers.com/memo...chool-ww2-bomb

    http://www.firemenremembered.co.uk/w...k/Stories.html



    https://www.family-tree.co.uk/how-to...ernative-guide










  • #2
    This was a war like other. Many unknown and untold tragedies remain from those times.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by chiddicks View Post
      My first ever post so go easy on me..............not sure if its in the right section so feel free to move as required.





      This is the account of the Bombing of the Old Palace School in St. Leonard’s Street, Bow during WW2 and the sad loss of 32 Firemen and 2 Fire Women who were tragically killed during this raid.This is still today, the largest loss of Fire Brigade personnel, at one incident, in the History of the service.

      Tragically for me, one of those that lost their life that night was my Great Aunt, Winifred Alexandra Peters (nee Wootton).

      Prior to this bombing raid on the early hours of 20th April 1941, London was in the middle of its biggest bombing campaign of the entire war from the German Luftwaffe, known as the Blitz. For eight months, from 7th September 1940 to May 11th 1941 London suffered almost continual nightly bombing, over a period of almost 37 weeks, the British capital was attacked 71 times.

      During the war many schools were left empty due to children being evacuated to the country. The Old Palace LCC School in St. Leonards Street, Poplar, was one of these, and was commandeered during the war, for use as a Sub Fire Station, for firefighters of the Auxiliary Fire Service. On the night of Sunday April 20th 1941, Fire Service crews were standing by in anticipation of a heavy raid on the Capital. At precisely 1.53am, a land mine, dropped from a Luftwaffe bomber and landed directly on the school. The land mine landed on the roof of the school and dropped down a stairwell and into the watch room where two women were killed outright. The men waiting outside were caught by the blast, which also demolished two thirds of the school building, and they were buried by falling masonry. Rescue services, already hard-pressed, arrived too late for any lives to be saved.

      Thirty-two firemen and two firewomen died at The Old Palace School, the largest number of Fire Brigade lives lost in a single incident, in peacetime or war.




      This is the perfect place to post this.

      Did I imagine this? When I was in London a few years ago I thought I saw a statue of the World War II fire brigades.
      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

      Comment


      • #4
        My uncle was in the Fire Brigade, in the East End of London During the Blitz. He was one of those who were called out on 57 consecutive nights. Like my Dad (before he was called up in April 1941, was in the ARP in the same area from 1939), he spent many days sleeping in mortuaries during the day as they were quiet. Well, they were generally quiet, apart from the odd groan of escaping air from the corpses. Some even sat up!
        ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
        All human ills he can subdue,
        Or with a bauble or medal
        Can win mans heart for you;
        And many a blessing know to stew
        To make a megloamaniac bright;
        Give honour to the dainty Corse,
        The Pixie is a little shite.

        Comment

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