Committee lays wreaths to remember the Saltash six
Saltash 1941 Blitz Committee

Saltash 1941 Blitz Committee

28th April 2021

Sue Hooper

On the evening of April 22, as the sun was setting at St Stephen’s Church, the Saltash 1941 Blitz Committee held a small ceremony for the auxiliary fire servicemen who lost their lives in Plymouth to help during the German bombing raids, 80 years before.

Six wreaths were laid, one on each grave for the six men who were killed while responding to a call for help.

The ceremony was performed by the Blitz Committee on behalf of the Saltash Fire Station.
Father Michael Brown, the current padre of the Fire Service gave a short sermon, and Paul Blakeston, Saltash station manager, read the Fire Fighters’ Prayer.

Throughout the ceremony, the lone piper Clint Hayes played a lament.

The six AFS firefighters were all killed together in King Street, Plymouth on that fateful day 80 years ago. Their names were: Francis Joseph Brooking; Stanley Richard Crabb; Alfred John Crapp; Bernard Jasper; John Robert Hoskins Stanlake; and Leslie George Tibbs.

The men crossed on the Saltash Ferry into Plymouth to help tackle the raging fires in the city.

Driving a Packard taxi, towing a water pump behind them to serve their homeland with vigour, they never came back.

Their equipment was very basic: just tin hats, overalls, oils skins and gas masks. They also wore their AFS badge with honour.

Last week’s touching ceremony was only attended by the Saltash 1941 Blitz Committee, the clergy and the lone piper, due to covid-19 government restrictions.

It was a poignant sunset ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the April 1941 Blitz, which tragically took the lives of nine other Saltash civilians six days later, 80 years ago today (Wednesday, April 28).
Among those killed on April 28 was a seventh Saltash AFS firefighter, 18-year-old Donald Noel Cummins, from the 2nd Saltash Scout Troop.

The sirens sounded at 9.55pm, and although the German bombers were targeting the Royal Albert Bridge and the Devonport Dockyard, but Saltash’s Fore Street took the worst of the attack.

The raid lasted until 1.15am on April 29, and the all clear sounded at 2.25am.

There will be further acts of remembrance today; furthermore, on August 8 there will be a remembrance parade led by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service marching band of drums and pipes. The committee will also place wreaths and memorial tokens for those killed in the second attack.

The Blitz Committee has been able to raise sufficient funds thanks to local businesses and funding sources to install local memorials in their honour.

For further information on the work of the Saltash 1941 Blitz Committee, please contact the general secretary, Sue Hooper on 01752 843073, or email suehcf@msn.com

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