A small group of Rushden & District History Society members, and relatives of the victims of a bomb that fell in Roberts Street 75 years ago, met on Thursday the 19th November 2015, to unveil a plaque. After a short speech by the Society chairman, Geoff Wiggins, he invited the grandson of Harriet Elmer, Derek Elmer, to unveil the plaque to the memory of the four people who were killed.
Members and relatives assembled
Derek Elmer unveils the plaque
The group who walked to the cemetery to lay flowers
on the three graves in the cemetery
One of the party, far right in the picture above, had lived in Roberts street as a baby and has passed us these notes of what her late father, Mr John Underwood, told her about the day.
I am Margaret Matthews (nee Underwood) and was born in June 1939 at No. 14 Roberts Street, Rushden. Shortly afterwards my mother was taken seriously ill and spent a considerable amount of time in both Northampton and Wymington Road Hospitals. As there was no Social Security or State Benefits in those days my father had to continue working, so my brother went to live with an aunt and uncle in Portland Road, and I went to an aunt and uncle in Rose Avenue, where I stayed for about six years.
On 19th November 1940 (a day after his birthday) my father said that he had planned to stay at home in the evening but changed his mind and decided to visit my brother in Portland Road. As he was crossing over Newton Road he heard the plane and sheltered behind the wall of the Athletic Club just before the bombs were dropped. He was then homeless and had to stay with relatives in Hall Avenue. Virtually all my parent's material possessions were destroyed, and I don't know if anything was insured.
Although our family was split up for a few years I thank God that we were spared very possible death or certain injury.
My brother has told me that two relative families also lived in Roberts Street at that time who were also affected.
This V sign and the morse code dots below, remain visible on a wall in the street. Probably painted for 'Victory' celebrations which was probably a street party.