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Police officers who gave their lives protecting the people of Great Yarmouth during Second World War air raids are remembered with new memorial

PUBLISHED: 16:04 29 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:04 29 March 2017

Police officers who died while protecting citizens on the home front have been remembered. Land mine damage in Great Yarmouth on April 8, 1941.

 Photo: Archant Library

Police officers who died while protecting citizens on the home front have been remembered. Land mine damage in Great Yarmouth on April 8, 1941. Photo: Archant Library

Plaques has been unveiled to remember police officers who died while protecting the people of Great Yarmouth during the Second World War.

Frank Moore, chief constable Simon Bailey at Great Yarmouth police station as a plaque is unveiled to remember officers who died during bombing raids in the Second World War.  Photo: George Ryan Frank Moore, chief constable Simon Bailey at Great Yarmouth police station as a plaque is unveiled to remember officers who died during bombing raids in the Second World War. Photo: George Ryan

A service was held at noon today at Great Yarmouth Police Station.

Rev Nick Greef, police chaplain gave a bible reading in front the invited audience including the mayor of Great Yarmouth Cllr Malcolm Bird.

PC Stephen Smith gave a talk on special constable colleagues who lost their lives after an air raid on April 8, 1941.

Five special constables died after that raid. They were George William Brown, 41, Herbert Cecil Davy, 55, William John Harrison, 70, Percy James Smowton, 59 and Frederick George Wallace, 38.

A photo showing burnt out shops in Great Yarmouth Market Place d
ated April 8, 1941 after a German air raid. Photo: Archant Library A photo showing burnt out shops in Great Yarmouth Market Place d ated April 8, 1941 after a German air raid. Photo: Archant Library

On April 18, 1941 PWRC Harry William Rudd died aged 47. SC John Cussock O’Brien died on July 7, 1941 aged 58 and SC Cecil Parmenter died on February 18, 1942 aged 30.

History

Great Yarmouth  - WWII

Yarmouth store burnt out after a recent  bombing raid 
Dated  April 1941

Photograph  C1665 Great Yarmouth - WWII Yarmouth store burnt out after a recent bombing raid Dated April 1941 Photograph C1665

On April 7, 85 German air craft took off from bases in France on course for Great Yarmouth.

Prior to this night, the town had only been lightly bombed.

At half past midnight on April 8 the raid began with marker flares and high explosive bombs being dropped.

Initial reports from the fire service recorded that two parachute mines had been dropped on the north end of the borough at Collingwood Road causing considerable damage and killing two, and injuring seven.

Then showers of incendiaries were dropped over the Market Place falling in a southerly direction across the Rows and South Quay.

It was estimated that around 4,000 fire bombs were dropped in the raid. These set alight most of South Quay and the fires were so bad that they could be seen as far away as Acle, seven-miles away.

All the local fire units were involved in the operation, with assistance coming from Lowestoft, Beccles, Norwich and Cromer.

The fires were so large that police officers, air raid wardens and fire watchers were drafted in to help.

Two large calibre high explosive bombs were dropped on Southtown Road which created craters which cut Yarmouth off from Gorleston and caused water mains to break, leading to a drop in water pressure across the borough, hampering the firefighting efforts.

At 5pm two landmines where dropped in the Queens Road area. Initial reports said there were people trapped inside and screaming could be heard.

A further update came in which reported special constables were reported to be trapped inside. An hour and a half later it was confirmed there had been five fatalities.

The bombing raid caused 65 large fires across the borough, destroying many buildings.

In total 17 people were killed and 68 were injured.

The Great Yarmouth town clerk said: “I shall never forget the appalling sight that Yarmouth presented, an with the additional fires that continually broke out, it seemed that nothing could prevent the destruction of the town and South Quay.”

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