Nostalgia: Havering in history on February 7, 1954, 1974 and 1994
18:45 07 February 2014
This week in history - 60, 40 and 20 years ago.
Sixty years ago – 1954
A 75-year-old woman was found dead in her Hornchurch bedroom, with parts of her body burned by an electrical fire.
Retired nurse Mary Ann Darby was thought to have overturned a table lamp while she was getting out of bed.
When she was discovered her left hand was charred and one side of her face also severely burned.
It is thought her death was due to shock as a result of the burns.
Miss Darby’s niece, Kathleen Hill, said her aunt was an active woman, but that she was in poor health occasionally.
A 20-year-old flying officer was believed dead after he was forced to abandon his plane over the Thames Estuary.
Michael Wilson came down in the sea after the incident, but there was no trace of him afterwards.
Mr Wilson, of Gidea Park, was flying to England from his base in Germany when he ran into fog on approaching the estuary.
His co-pilot was also still missing.
Mr Wilson joined the 6th Romford Squadron of the air cadets aged 14 and went on to pass a number of courses before becoming a fighter pilot.
The leader of Romford Council’s opposition announced he would not seek re-election.
Conservative Peter Bartaby said he was stepping down for business and private reasons.
Cllr Bartaby had been a member of the council for more than six years. He was the youngest person to have been elected for the council after winning the old town ward seat in 1947, aged 23.
He retained his seat in 1951 and was appointed to represent Gidea Park when the boundaries changed.
Forty years ago - 1974
An 88-year-old woman died after a fire broke out in her Collier Row home.
Jane Davis’ body was found on the floor of the downstairs room where she slept by firemen who battled their way inside.
Her neighbour of 40 years William Dunn, 72, ran to the property after his front room suddenly filled with smoke.
“The heat was so intense that I burned my hand on the front door,” he said. “I ran to the other neighbour who had a key. We opened the door but the smoke was so thick it was impossible to enter.”
The house was severely damaged by the fire, with floorboards burnt through and the roof damaged by smoke.
The cause was not known.
A man was gravely ill after being found with his dead son in a fume-filled car.
Detectives were keeping a vigil at the man’s bedside, at Whipps Cross Hospital, in the hope of questioning him when he was well enough.
The pair were discovered by a cyclist in Epping Forest.
A hosepipe had been connected to the car’s exhaust and ran inside it.
A paralysed football manager was cited as an inspiration to his players.
South Hornchurch man Trevor Angel was described by a member as the “bravest bloke” for his devotion to Dagenham United’s under-13s team.
He was out on the touchline every week, despite being wheelchair-bound and his stint in charge had seen the boys win at least one trophy every season.
Mr Angel, who was paralysed from the waist down, sustained his injuries when he was crushed by a three tonne load of tractor wheels while he was working at Dagenham Dock.
Twenty years ago - 1994
An arsenal of weapons including sub-machine guns, grenade launchers and gunpowder was seized by police during two dawn raids in Romford.
The discovery was the first stage of an operation to clear up firearms, drugs, organised car crime and burglary offences.
The second stage saw a huge pile of jewellery, war medals and other items recovered.
An officer called the arms haul, which included 23 guns, “the tip of the iceberg” and enough to “equip a small army”.
Two men in their 40s were arrested during the dawn raids.
A brave 82-year-old woman chased robbers out of her flat just minutes after they threatened her with a knife.
The arthritis sufferer swiped her crutch at them as they fled the scene after she had screamed.
The three men broke into the Rainham flat, with one of them holding a fake British Telecom identification card.
He told the woman he needed to check her telephone line, but when she challenged him he pulled out a flick knife and ordered her to sit in a chair.
The victim then saw a man in her bedroom and another in her bathroom and began screaming.
She later realised that they had stolen £140, a cheque book and card and treasured jewellery.
A former mayor of Havering was handed his bus pass by a political rival.
Cllr Ron Latchford was given the pass by Labour leader Cllr Arthur Latham after he turned 60.
The council had just taken over the role of issuing travel cards.
Cllr Latham said: “I am not yet of bus pass age, I have some way to go.”