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Kay Collins
Alfred Street School Bomb - 70th Anniversary

On October 3rd 2010 Rushden & District History Society and Alfred Street School put up a "blue plaque"
to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bomb falling on Alfred Street School in 1940.
Mr Kidney, the current headmaster, and the History Society made the arrangements. Many ex-pupils had been contacted, and those who were able came to visit. Wreaths were laid in the school's Memorial Garden, and seven children each laid a white rose in memory of the seven children who were killed.

Then a remembrance service was held in the school hall, and the school choir sang "Kiss me goonight Sergeant Major" and "We'll meet again". A tree was planted in the school grounds and Mr Kidney placed a brass plaque in front of it to commemorate the day. Back in the hall, ex-pupils from 1940 were invited to assemble for a group photograph, and a few individual class photos. Refreshments were served by the History Society, and the displays were perused, old friendships renewed and school days were remembered.

Pupils assembled
Some of the pupils who were in the school on the day the bomb fell, assembled together again in 2010

The choir Mr Kidney & Greville Watson
The choir singing in the hall
Mr Kidney, headmaster and Greville Watson, chairman of Rushden & District History Society
Laying a wreath One of the children laying a wreath
Brian Tarry who came all the way from Canada and he brought his fireman's uniform to wear as he laid one of the wreaths.
One of the children laying a wreath
The flowers The plaque
Wreaths and flowers laid by Brian Tarry, the School,
Moleswoth RAF staff, the family of Brian Odell, and
seven white roses laid by seven of the schoolchildren.
The blue plaque commemorating the
70th Anniversary of the bomb at on the school.

planting the tree
John Warriner from Colchester plants the tree
Mr Kidney adds a brass plaque

Extract from the Log Book
October 3rd 1940 At 10.12a.m. without warning two High Explosive bombs fell on the premises. The first struck the classroom occupied by Class 10. Std. IIB & IIIB 46 children on roll, 39 present, Teacher in charge Miss M Wright.

The Classroom & the clinic waiting room above were completely wrecked by the explosion which caused the total collapse of the Street wall. It is possible that the bomb entered the classroom, falling obliquely through the window & making a deep crater in the farthest corner among the children. All the furniture was smashed, not a desk remaining whole. Except for windows in the demolished wall, all the glass covered with fabric remained unbroken. Twenty-five children and the teacher were at once assisted from the classroom and received first aid attention. Fourteen others were rescued by demolition gangs as soon as humanly possible.

The serious cases were taken by ambulances to the Moor Road First Aid Post where expert attention was given to the injured.

Five children were killed.

Four others were moved at once to the Northampton General Hospital, where two died very soon after admission. A further child was sent to the Hospital on Saturday Oct 5.

The second bomb which fell in the Boys’ Playground, badly damaged the Boys’ Offices, blew down a large part of the playground wall & damaged, though not severely, one shelter. It is my opinion that had the children in the shelter the casualties would have been less severe.

A roll call was prevented by the false report of a time bomb in the playground, all the children not receiving first aid were at once dismissed. The children & staff showed great courage & remained quite calm carrying out all the precautions arranged for such an emergency.

Parents & friends who invaded the premises on the whole behaved well, but there were cases of bad hysteria among them.

Mr J L Holland B.A., Secretary, & Mr A Woodhead, H.M.I., were quickly on the scene.

I must record my admiration of the first aid & demolition workers, for their promptitude & efficiency.

The School was closed until pronounced safe by the County Architect, Mr J Perkins.

On Thursday afternoon Miss Bennett & Miss O’Connor visited all the injured, bringing back a complete report, every child being accounted for. A preliminary check had been made by volunteers from the crowd.

Visits were also paid on Friday. In the afternoon, Mr Orris, the visiting Colchester headmaster, with Miss Swann & Miss Hill of the feeding Infants’ Schools assisted me in the work of identifying the victims.

Members of the Staff with myself attended the funerals on Saturday of Dennis Felce, Donald Scriven of Alfred Street & Muriel Moye of Colchester and on Monday of Joyce Dodd & Ray Odell of Alfred Street. Lorna Paine and Patricia Chase were taken to Colchester for burial. [Note: 3rd October 2000. It came to light today following a memorial ceremony that it was not Patricia Chase who died but her sister Cecilia Chase. Patricia Chase visited the school today. J Kidney (Headmaster)]

During the week all the Infants Department & three classrooms of this School were declared unsafe, Miss Hill & myself, with Mr Williams, acting Asst. Secretary & Mr Woodhead found temporary accommodation in S. Peter’s Sunday School, S. Peter’s Mission, The Scout Room & The Adult School.

Mr Jenkins HM Dev’d & Mr Osborne HMI paid sympathetic visits.

A town relief fund was opened for victims of the raid.

Oct 14

Re-opened School, seven classes at Alfred Street, two classes – Miss O’Connor Std V, Miss Bull Std IV, at St Peter’s Mission, and Std IVB – Mrs Levy at the Adult School.

Oct 15-17 inclusive

Mr Devlin absent for military (RAF) Examination.

Oct 23

Miss George left at midday owing to illness

Oct 24

Miss George absent

Oct 25

Miss George absent

Oct 24 [sic]

Miss George absent

Oct 25 [sic]

Miss George absent

Oct 28

Miss George returned to duty.

Oct 30

Miss E Bull absent ill.

Oct 31

Miss E Bull absent ill.

Nov 1

Miss E Bull absent ill.

Nov 4 & 5

Mid Term holiday

Nov 6

Miss Bull returned to duty

Nov 19

Miss George absent ill

Nov 20

Miss George returned to duty.
Miss Lucas retuned to Colchester.

Nov 20 & 21

Opened School at 10a.m. following Night Raid Warnings

Nov 26

Fourteen Colchester children who had been at the Newton Rd School, temporarily closed because of Air Raid damage on the 19th, have been admitted this morning together with their teachers Mr Thompson & Miss Storey.

Mr Thompson is assisting at the S. Peter’s Mission, Miss Storey at the Adult School & Mr Peck at Alfred St.

Miss Storey has taken over the Social duties of Miss Lucas who has been recalled.

Nov 29

Opened School at 10a.m. on account of raid warnings until 3.45a.m.

Mr Orris & Mr Thompson return to Colchester today.

Dec 2

Opened School at 9.30a.m. according to instruction for December & January.

Dec 12

Opened School at 10a.m. – “all clear” – 7.30am.

Dec 13

Opened School at 10a.m. – “all clear” – 4.45am.

Mr H Devlin left at 4.15p.m. to join RAF on Dec 18, two days leave with pay 16 & 17 being granted by the Managers.

Dec 16

Mrs Nora M Crossby commenced duties as a Supply Teacher (Trained Certificated) in the place of Mr Devlin.

Dec 17

Mr W E Capon signed & checked the register.

Dec 20

Broke up at noon for Xmas & New Year holiday.

Jan 6 - 1941

Re-opened School at 9.30a.m. Mrs Crossby continues to supply in Class 10. Mr Peck returned for duty from Colchester.

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