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Search for Hornchurch’s brave WW2 bomb disposal expert 70 years on

PUBLISHED: 18:00 24 September 2011

Members of the Royal Engineers bomb disposal unit, six of which were killed when a bomb exploded in a field between Crewe and Nantwich. (Photo courtesy of Crewe and Nantwich at War by Mark Potts and Tony Marks).

Members of the Royal Engineers bomb disposal unit, six of which were killed when a bomb exploded in a field between Crewe and Nantwich. (Photo courtesy of Crewe and Nantwich at War by Mark Potts and Tony Marks).

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A national search is underway to track down the family of a brave Second World War bomb disposal expert from Hornchurch.

Last month marks 71 years since Sapper Harold Thompson of Hornchurch was killed while attempting to defuse a German bomb which had landed in a field in Cheshire.

The young man was part of a group of six Royal Engineers who all tragically died attempting to defuse four bombs which landed between Crewe and Nantwich in August 1940.

The men had successfully diffused the first three but were killed on their fourth attempt in an act of bravery that was never reported at the time due to concerns over security and morale.

Now more than seven decades later Cheshire East Council plans to honour the servicemen with a memorial and track down their relatives.

The Royal Engineers included Sapper Harold Thompson who was buried in Hornchurch, Sergeant Edward Greengrass in Wandsworth, Sapper Michael Lambert in Kensall Green, Sapper Albert Edward Fearon in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sapper George Lucas in Manchester. It is unknown where Sapper John Perrins was buried.

According to the War Graves Commission, Thompson, Lambert, Fearon and Lucas were killed instantly and Sergeant Greengrass died two days later in hospital.

Desmond Curtis, Chairman of the Crewe branch of the Royal Engineers Association, said: “The work of many bomb disposal units from the Second World War has gone unnoticed so memorials such as this are very special.”

Cheshire East Council is now searching for the families of the men in the hope they will be able to shed more light on their lives and participate in the memorial ceremony.

Anyone with information should call: 01270 686012.


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