Jasmine, eight, remembers her family, killed when wartime bomb decimated Stalham High Street
- Credit: Archant
Brownie Jasmine Thirst, eight, had a very special reason to mark Remembrance Day in Stalham.
Jasmine, of 1st Sutton and Stalham Brownies, was among those parading through High Street to the service in the parish church.
The procession passed the spot where, 74 years earlier, her great-grandfather and great aunt were killed in an air-raid.
On October 30 1940, a lone German bomber was circling over the Stalham area for some time.
It was late afternoon and getting dark. Jasmine's great-grandfather Percy and his daughter Jean, 20, were working in the town's bakery and shop.
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Mr Thirst, manager of the bakery, was famed for his cake making. He was a veteran of the First World War, serving as a baker in the Royal Army Service Corps, and had lived in Stalham for about 30 years.
He was on the list of senior referees for Norfolk and at times served as linesman for Norwich City games at Carrow Road.
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Miss Thirst, a member of the church choir, was popular, and engaged to be married.
Her eldest brother Gerald - Jasmine's granddad – was away serving in the Royal Navy and her other brother Murray, a retained Stalham fireman, was working at the local ironmongers.
Although everyone had the statutory blackouts in place, a stream of light was showing from a nearby shop. It was enough to attract the crew of the bomber who dropped a high-explosive bomb as Miss Thirst and her dad prepared to close up.
It hit the centre of Stalham with such force that it destroyed the bakery and shop, the Grebe Hotel and the bank as well as damaging other buildings.
Murray Thirst was among the first on the scene. He managed to find his father, who was already dead, but no trace was ever found of Jean.
The bank was rebuilt. The Grebe was first replaced with a temporary wooden building and, in later years, by the current building.
The only reminder today of the wartime tragedy is on the Stalham War Memorial, inside the church, where the names of Percy and Jean Thirst are recorded.
The Eastern Daily Press, sister paper to the News, carried a censored report the day after the attack.
A statement from the Air Ministry and Ministry of Home Security said: 'At about dusk yesterday evening enemy aircraft made several raids in eastern and north-eastern districts.
'They dropped bombs at a number of points and machine gunned streets at several places. Some damage was done to houses and other buildings but, although some persons were killed, the casualties were not numerous.'