Neville, 100, tells tale of bomb

PUBLISHED: 16:59 08 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:13 03 July 2010

CELEBRATING: Centenarian Neville Rose

CELEBRATING: Centenarian Neville Rose

Dominic Bareham

THE course of history could have been very different for Great Yarmouth man Neville Rose after he narrowly avoided being bombed during a second world war air strike.

THE course of history could have been very different for Great Yarmouth man Neville Rose after he narrowly avoided being bombed during a second world war air strike.

Mr Rose, of Hawkins Avenue, had just left for his job making herring baskets at Yarmouth Stores when three German fighter aircraft flew over and dropped a bomb on his home at 28 Seymour Avenue in 1944.

But the device bounced off the roof and exploded in neighbouring Cradock Avenue, destroying two houses.

Mr Rose lived to tell the tale as he celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday with family and friends.

His son Bernard, 75, recalled hearing the sound of the low flying Fokker planes as they approached the town after flying over the North Sea for the last bombing raid on the town during the war.

He said: “The plane was that low that when they dropped the bomb it slid off the roof and into Cradock Avenue. It was a lucky miss.”

At the time, Mr Rose was living with his parents Neville senior and Beatrice and worked at the Stores on the corner of Friars Lane where he had completed an apprenticeship in basketwork.

His job involved making five or six baskets a day for use by the fishing industry.

Bernard said his father, who had attended Edward Worlledge School, would often return home with swollen and cut hands because the nature of his work in hammering the cane together could be quite physical.

Mr Rose put his skills to good use during the second world war as he did not join the military, but was instead in a reserved occupation, making hampers for the RAF to use to drop food to troops fighting in Europe.

After finishing at Yarmouth Stores, he went on to teach basketwork at both Yarmouth and Lowestoft Colleges before retiring in 1973.

The centenarian's other claim to fame is his football career with Great Yarmouth Town - he played in central midfield from 1925 to 1930 and was top scorer one season with 17 goals.

During his playing career, his team, who then played in the Norfolk and Suffolk League, gave Norwich City a run for their money, losing only 3-1 to the Canaries in a friendly.

Mr Rose also had a passion for gardening and won the council's Best Kept Garden prize during the 1950s.

He and his wife Ellen had been married for 73 years when she died in 2003 at the age of 93.

Mr Rose has two children - Bernard and daughter Phyllis Fairhead who died in 1955, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Mr Rose, who likes a cigar and a whisky, said: “I think the secret to a long life is good living.”

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