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Len Scrivens: Last of City of Norwich joint firemen and police officers

PUBLISHED: 15:58 24 August 2011

The last of the city’s combined firemen and police officers, Len Scrivens, has died peacefully aged 89 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

He was seriously injured while fighting the fires in the heart of Norwich when the Luftwaffe launched the Baedeker raids in April 1942.

During the Norwich Blitz on April 29-30, a total of 850 people were killed or wounded and more than 200 fires were started.

Leonard Scrivens, who was born in Fulham, and trained as a car mechanic, had joined Norwich City Police during the war.

Serving in the combined police and fire brigade, he and a companion, Sam Bussey, had been sent to fight fires and also release horses from a yard in Oak Street. Sam was killed and Len seriously injured.

Len’s son, David, who lives in South Africa, said that he had always been reluctant to describe his experiences during the war. “He started to open up about five or six years ago but would never really talk about it,” he added.

Force historian Maurice Morson, a former head of Norfolk CID, said: “Len was a man of great bravery and determination, genial, popular and greatly respected in both police and fire services. He will long be remembered. Firefighting in itself is a dangerous business but doing so as bombs are raining down exhibits a special kind of courage.”

A member of the Norwich City Police Association, after the war, Len returned to the motor trade, later running a garage in Sprowston Road and also a filling station and car sales off the Cromer Road.

He loved to travel and actually emigrated to South Africa with his young family for about a dozen years before returning to Norwich. Unable to settle for too long, he emigrated again to South Africa but then finally returned to the city, where he lived in Duoro Place, off Dereham Road.

He had travelled extensively, often spending as long as three months during the winter in South Africa, where he enjoyed walking and climbing Table Top Mountain. He also visited his extended family in Germany and Australia.

He leaves a widow, Lousia, and children, grandchildren and great grand grandchildren.

A funeral has been held.

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