South Shields air raid victims remembered - 75 years on

A poignant service paid tribute to the many lives lost 75 years ago in a wartime bombing raid in South Shields.

The attack by German Luftwaffe bombers during the Second World War took place on the night of October 2, 1941, claiming the lives of 68 people and causing serious injuries to 117 others.

The devastation caused by such a heavy and sustained bombing left many more homeless as the bitter conflict raged.

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Yesterday, members of the emergency services alongside civic dignitaries and members of the public stood side by side at St Hilda’s Church to remember those who were killed that night.

The service, led by Father Chris Fuller, was organised by Station Manager of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Adrian Jackson.

It was attended by the Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Chief Constable of Northumbria Police Steve Ashman, the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Alan and Moira Smith and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

Representatives from the British Legion and the South Shields branch of the Durham Light Infantry were also in attendance.

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The death toll from the attack included civilians, an air raid warden, a special constable and fireman Edward Broomhead, 19, who had embarked on his first shift as a firefighter with the National Fire Service.

Wreaths in tribute to the bombing victims were laid during the service, with the final blessing given by the Reverend Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow.

Mr Jackson said: “I’m really pleased with his the service has gone.

“It’s important that such a significant event which happened in South Shields is remembered.

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“Each year we remember the firefighter, Edward Broomhead, who lost his life on what was his first shift – but he wasn’t the only one.

“We always here about the atrocities and the blitz in London but we were also badly hit.

“It is an important part of the history of South Shields, and it’s important to remember those who lost their lives.”

Coun Smith said: “The service was very touching and very poignant and I’m really pleased we have been able to remember the victims in such a moving way.

“We have been asked about whether a plaque can be placed on the old Town Hall to commemorate the lives of those lost, which we are looking into.”