These plaques tell the story

PUBLISHED: 14:31 28 June 2007 | UPDATED: 12:35 04 May 2010

IN reply to J Thomson s letter last week. On Sunday June 1, 1947, two memorial plaques were unveiled in memory of the brave railway men who saved Soham. One was erected at St Andrew s Church, Soham and the other at the Soham Railway Station, although this

IN reply to J Thomson's letter last week. On Sunday June 1, 1947, two memorial plaques were unveiled in memory of the brave railway men who saved Soham. One was erected at St Andrew's Church, Soham and the other at the Soham Railway Station, although this was later moved to Soham Village College when the station was closed.

These plaques tell the story, without any embellishment. The station plaque was paid for using the residue from the Soham Tribute and Relief Fund from money collected and donated by the general public. I passed documents of both programmes printed for these events as proof to the editor of the Ely Standard.

REG BROWN, Hall Street, Soham

* IF J Thompson (last week's letters)was right, that no memorial had been erected in Soham to the men who saved the town in 1944 was true, then indeed it would be a disgrace, but as many in Soham know he is wrong.

A church memorial service was held soon after the event in 1944 and subsequently brass plaques were erected in St Andrew's Church and at the railway station.

When the station was closed in 1966, that plaque was moved to the village college in the presence of Ben Gimbert and members of the families of those involved. After that, Mr Gimbert presented a cup to the college which remains as the highest award given to a pupil as he or she leaves the college.

Railway engines have been named after both Ben Gimbert and James Nightall.

Soham has named streets after both of them and Frank Bridges. There is a memorial plaque to James Nightall on the library in Littleport.

On the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the event there have been commemorative services at the time of the explosion.

For a full account of those events of 1944 I recommend the reading of Anthony Day's book But for Such Men as These, which is now back in print thanks to the Soham Museum Society.

This new memorial, placed prominently close to the war memorial in Red Lion Square will, I'm sure, remind everyone, not just of the bravery of the driver, Gimbert, fireman Nightall, signalman Bridges and guard Clarke, but all those civilians who also gave their lives during those great wars doing their duty.

MIKE ROUSE , Lynton Close, Ely


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