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Memorial ceremony held to remember victims of Romford’s worst war bombing

PUBLISHED: 16:30 22 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:52 22 April 2016

Members of the Royal British Legion lead the way to the memorial at 75th anniversary of Romford's worst war time air-raid. Photo: Ann-Marie Abbasah/Archant

Members of the Royal British Legion lead the way to the memorial at 75th anniversary of Romford's worst war time air-raid. Photo: Ann-Marie Abbasah/Archant

Archant

A service of remembrance for people who lost their lives one terrible night during the Second World War was held on Tuesday.

The event was dedicated to the memory of the 44 victims from Essex Road and Hillfoot Avenue, both in Collier Row, who died on April 19 1941 – the borough’s worst wartime air-raid.

Eleven people from Brentwood Road, Gidea Park, and Stanley Road, Hornchurch, were also honoured.

As the sun shone on those paying their respects, Rev David Banting said: “We remember all who lost their lives on that night.”

Members of the Romford branch of the Royal British Legion, carrying flags, led the procession to the memorial garden at Romford Cemetery, Crow Lane.

Members of the Salvation Army Band led a musical accompaniment as mourners sang a hymn called Through All the Changing Scenes of Life.

Relatives, including those representing the Limehouse and Barclay families, watched as Cllr Brian Eagling, the mayor of Havering, laid a wreath.

Rev Banting added: “Let this ordeal be remembered in a fitting memorial.

“Let this plaque stand as a reminder for deliverance and thanksgiving.”

In a moment of reflection, a bugler of the Royal British Legion played The Last Post and Reveille.

Paying reference to wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, Rev Banting said: “We are here celebrating the past, victory and the present peace and the future hope.

“Young people are the present and our future.”

Twelve pupils from Crownfield Junior School, White Hart Lane, Collier Row, then read a moving poem called We Remember Them.

The day brought a sense of achievement for William Barclay, 69, from Clacton-on-Sea, who fought for 18 months to have a plaque referencing his family in the tragedy.

The difficulty being some remains were unable to be officially identified.

Mr Barclay said: “My father’s mother, brothers, sisters and cousin were killed.

“My father was in the Navy and attended the funeral of his family here in 1941.”

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