December 7 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The day a deadly bomb dropped on Carrow Vale, where many of the Colman workers lived.
On this crisp Winter day in Norwich of 1940 (December 11) - the year the first raids of the war had brought death and destruction, heartache and misery - tragedy was about to unfold.
All was quiet as the city woke up until a lone raider appeared in the sky and started to circle - looking for somewhere to drop its deadly load.
The big Riverside factories of Laurence & Scott, Boulton & Paul, Colmans, were obvious and clear targets and had already been attacked earlier in the year killing men and women.
But on this day a bomb missed the factories and blew up a house at the bottom of Carrow Hill killing 18-year-old Eileen Warnes.
At 10 Carrow Vale, a small terrace of cottages, lived 88-year-old William Warnes, a fiery old gentleman who had refused to sleep downstairs along with his daughter and grand-daughter.
As the bomb landed on his house the blast hurled him, complete with bed, into the front garden and there, surrounded by piles of debris, he lay. Apart from the shock he was unhurt.
Opposite the Warnes lived E S West, a fireman with a knowledge of first aid.
On hearing the noise of the explosion and the whine of missiles passing over his own roof, he rushed to his front door and was horror-struck by the scene which met his eyes.
A house had become a smouldering wreck.
He ran across the road and saw William lying in the front garden - still in his bed.
After making sure he was not badly hurt he crawled and wormed his way by the dimmed light of a pocket torch through what was left of the front of the house.
He found William’s daughter still alive but his grand-daughter was dead. There was nothing he could do to save her.
As he pulled the daughter to safety, bombs were still crashing down, this time in the grounds of Carrow Abbey.
Both William and Mr West had worked for Colmans and lived in company houses on Carrow Hill.
Mr West, a member of the Air Raid Spotters, an organisation created by Colman’s along with Boulton & Paul and LSE, was later awarded the King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct for his actions.
The cottages were eventually pulled down and rebuilt by Colman’s in the 1950s - apart from the one at the end. That survived - it is where I live.
<t> At tea-time on July 9 1940 Carrow Hill was packed with Colman workers going home when a deadly attack was launched on the city. A bomb exploded on the hill killing Maud Balaam. Maud Burrell, Bertha Playford, Gladys Sampson and Bessie Upson and injuring many more.
They are remembered thanks to a plaque on the wall near to where they lost their lives