Appeal: Plaque will mark wartime deaths of special constables in Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Norfolk Police
A plaque will be placed to commemorate the deaths of five special constables who were killed during one of the worst air raids on Great Yarmouth during the Second World War.
It will be the first dedication by Norfolk Police who are holding a number of events this year to commemorative officers who died whilst they were on duty or who were killed serving during the 1939-1945 conflict.
The Yarmouth commemoration is at the Howard Street police station on Friday, March 31 and force historians are appealing for relatives and/or descendants of the five officers killed to come forward to take part in the ceremony.
The raid started at in the early hours of April 8, 1941 with marker flares landing. During the attack it is estimated that 4,000 incendiaries fell, along with a large number of high explosive bombs which killed 17 people and injured 68.
Large areas of the town were completely destroyed especially around South Quay and it was reported the subsequent fires being so bad they could be seen as far away as Acle.
At 5.02am two parachute mines fell, the first of them landing at the junction of Blackfriars’s and Queen’s Road, where it exploded close to a Special Constable’s sub-station which suffered the full effects of the blast.
The sub-station was in the Seagull Garage which was owned by James Calver. Five Special Constables were reported as being trapped inside and when rescuers got to them it was confirmed at around 6.30am that all five had died in the blast.
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The five men killed are listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as:
George William Brown, husband of Olive Rose Brown, of 12 Harbord Crescent.
Herbert Cecil Davy, of 84 Nelson Road Central, who was the son of W J and P M Davy, of 30 Nelson Road Central; husband of L E Davy.
William John Harrison, who was the husband of Elizabeth C Harrison of 10 Kimberley Terrace.
Percy James Smowton, of 86 Nelson Road Central who was the son of Mr and Mrs I Smowton of the same address.
Frederick George Willsmore, of 13 South Beach Parade, who was the son of Emma Jane Willsmore, of 38 Lisle Road, Colchester, Essex, and of the late T W Willsmore; husband of Maud Florence Willsmore.
Norfolk Police historians are keen to hear from any surviving relatives of the men so that they can attend the ceremony and are also keen on any further information, including photographs of the five. Any information received will go into a Roll of Honour book being compiled to record the deaths of all police officers who died in the Second World War.
Information can be emailed to Historians@norfolk.pnn.police.uk, in a letter to Force Historians, Support Services, Norfolk Constabulary, Jubilee House, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 0WW.
People can also contact battlefield guide and author Steve Smith on email at firstname.lastname@example.org