A 1940s event on a railway gives us the opportunity to portray some of the serious industrial damage that took place in bombing raids during the war.
The railway station is being guarded by the 82nd Airbourne Group, with guards round the Signal Box, sidings, turntable and platform. Soon after lunch each day (1:30pm), couple of air raid sirens sound, and we hear the bombers getting closer overhead. The performer on stage has to cut their performance short (their slot was just coming to an and anyway), with the words, “Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the air raid, we have had to curtail this performance. For your own safety, please disperse until the All Clear sounds, when the entertainment will resume.”
We hear bombs dropping, and there are some near misses. (JU88 bombing run – 2 mins). A stick of HE bombs fall in the railway yard. One is on the far side of the line, and does no damage. Another is in the turntable pit, and makes a big bang, but again does no visible damage. But a third one falls amongst the wagons parked behind the turntable. (Electrically detonated thunderflashes)
Soldiers (and ARP wardens if available) go to check things out, as smoke starts to rise between the wagons. The NFS are summoned, and the K2 and a trailer pump are quickly on their way. Painful screams are heard, and the searchers quickly find a railway worker who was unloading the wagons (or a member of the guard) is seriously injured. He is loosing a lot of blood. A stretcher is brought in, and he is quickly taken out to the First Aid Post, which is just down the railway yard.
As the K2 commander assesses the scene, he quickly decided to “Make pumps two”, and the Pump Escape follows from the far end of the yard. On the way, he meets two civilians, one of whom is injured. But being on the way to a fire, the commander has to ignore the pleas for help, promising he will send help shortly. On arrival at the fire, the local constable and a warden are despatched with a stretcher to help. They get the casualty to the First Aid Post, and then return to the scene of the fire.
The Pump Escape has now arrived and gets a couple of hoses to play on the burning wagons. The pump is in full swing, and the fire is extinguished.
But to everyone’s shock and surprise, the bomber returns, and makes a low-level pass over the site, machine-guns firing. (JU88 passing overhead with straffing). A couple of people are hit and fall to the ground as the firemen are making up their equipment. The stretcher-bearers and First Aid Post swing back into action as the All Clear sounds. The ladies of the WVS bring refreshments for the hard-pressed firemen and Civil Defence workers.
If you portray the Civil Defence organisations, and would like to get involved, please see our page on ‘Participants Invited‘ under ‘Events 2013’, and get in touch. This page will be updated as further details are agreed.
There will be other demonstrations over the course of each day, with some fireman training at the ‘Butler Henderson’ end of the yard.
The Turntable Ladder will not be here this year, as we are short of crew, and it is at Sheffield Fire and Police Museum for their 1940s event the weekend before.
- NFS: David Moore (OIC), Dan Walker, James Walker, Chris Bonnick and stepson, Stewart Hayllar, Mike Sutcliffe, Damien Rex (Sat only).
- ARP: John and Helen Crowford.
- CD: Lynn Hill.
- Police: Neill Lomax
- 82nd Airbourne Group, who actually were stationed at Quorn in the war. With medics.
- Extras: Owen on pyros, Professional PA playing soundtrack, Lynn Hill doing makeup, 1 or 2 civvies caught by shrapnel/gunfire (Kass Cooper + ?).