PICTURE GALLERY: Lasting tribute to the civilians killed by a bomb in Rushden 75 years ago

Flowers were left on the graves of the four victims of the Roberts Street bomb

Flowers were left on the graves of the four victims of the Roberts Street bomb

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A lasting tribute has been unveiled in the street where four people died after a bomb hit during the Second World War.

People gathered to see the unveiling of the blue plaque in Roberts Street, Rushden, on the 75th anniversary of the wartime tragedy.

It’s important that future generations know what happened here on November 19, 1940

Geoff Wiggins

The plaque carries the names of Harriett Elmer, 53, her 15-year-old daughter Betty, Charles Smith, 70, and Emma Furniss, 79, who all died after the Germans dropped a bomb on Rushden as they returned from bombing raids in Coventry.

Rushden & District History Society organised for the tribute to go up at 25, Roberts Street, and they asked Derek Elmer, grandson of victim Harriett Elmer, to unveil the plaque on Thursday.

Mr Elmer, who was born in a house just up the road from where the bomb dropped, said: “I am honoured to be asked to do this.”

About 30 people gathered to watch the unveiling of the plaque, including Jean Bryan.

Her adoptive parents Fred and Lily Blakey lived at 22, Roberts Street, at the time of the bombing.

Their house used to be on the plot where the house bearing the blue plaque now stands.

Also at last week’s event was Margaret Matthews, who was about 17-months-old at the time of the bombing and her brother Peter Underwood, who was eight-years-old at the time.

But they were living away from Roberts Street with relatives elsewhere in Rushden the night the bomb fell.

Other people related to victims of the bombing or who lived in the street at the time also attended the unveiling.

Geoff Wiggins, chairman of Rushden & District History Society, made a short speech before the unveiling and said: “It’s important that future generations know what happened here on November 19, 1940.”

After the memorial was unveiled, flowers were placed on each of the four victims’ graves at Rushden Cemetery in nearby Newton Road.

It was a Tuesday night when the single bomb exploded in back gardens between two streets and the four nearest houses were almost wrecked.

It was in this street that the principal casualties occurred, with hardly any houses escaping damage to roofs, windows and doors.

As well as those killed, it is understood that a number of other people were injured and taken to hospital.

The bombing happened just weeks after a bomb dropped on Alfred Street School in Rushden on October 3, 1940, killing seven children.

A plaque listing their names was unveiled at the school on the 70th anniversary.

For more information about the day the bomb fell, go to www.rushdenheritage.co.uk/war/bomb-roberts-street.