Photos of Air Raid at Rufford, Sept 2014

We have just received a report from the ARP wardens as follows:

The Abbey - Mervyn Stevens

The Abbey – Mervyn Stevens

At around 2:20pm we received word from our colleagues in Leicester that a doodlebug had passed overhead, and was approaching us. At 400mph, it would be with us in around 10 minutes. We scoured the skies, and sounded the alarm. We heard it approach, and cut out so we know it would be close. In fact, Rufford Abbey took a direct hit. There was an event on there involving armed forces as well as civilian families, so the race was on to evacuate the walking wounded and get them into the care of the WVS, who luckily were already present at the event.

ARP warden leads a family to safety - John Lee

ARP warden leads a family to safety – John Lee

A couple of families got out safely, but as the roof collapsed, an elderly couple were badly injured, as was a middle-aged man. There was a lot of blast damage, and the abbey building is now a complete wreck, but luckily there was only a small fire. The NFS had heard the V1 from some distance away, and were already near us when it landed, and they were on the scene within minutes. They used the TL to get water onto the fire, as well as hand-held branches. An ambulance arrived very quickly, and the two casualties were loaded.

A casualty is lowered from the building in a Neil Robertson rescue stretcher - John Lee

A casualty is lowered from the building in a Neil Robertson rescue stretcher – John Lee

The NFS crew went into the building with rescue equipment in search of the third casualty, and eventually found him buried under rubble and in a very bad way. A Neil Robertson rescue stretcher was called for, and eventually the casualty was lowered down. But the shock was too much, and he passed away at the scene. A doctor pronounced him dead, and to avoid demoralising the gathered crowd, the corpse was hastily put into the back of the NFS K2 van and taken away to the local mortuary.

Firemen bring out an injured colleague - John Lee

Firemen bring out an injured colleague – John Lee

While searching through the rubble, a pocket of leaked gas exploded, seriously injuring Fireman Townsley, who was brought out and carried to First Aid, suffering from wounds and serious burns to the chest and face.

Civilian casualty and injured fireman arrive at the field hospital - John Lee

Civilian casualty and injured fireman arrive at the field hospital – John Lee

The casualties were treated jointly by the Red Cross and the St John Ambulance crew who were nearby. All the Civil Defence staff joined the NFS for a cuppa afterwards.

But I don’t think the Abbey will ever be the same again.

Thanks to John Lee, Mick Hill, Robert Blincow, Martin Clewlow and Merv Stevens for the photos.

About lowdhamstation

I am a director of a small (and very technical) business, a committed Christian, a Reader (and preacher) in my local village church, husband to my dear Frances, am interested in heritage railways, and heritage fire engines. I currently run a group that displays wartime and early post-war fire engines at 1940s re-enacting events and steam engine rallies. O yes, and vintage cars and motorbikes, and we live in a Victorian railway station.

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