Bravery of men who lost their lives in Soham rail disaster honoured at memorial event
- Credit: Archant
A memorial event was held in Soham to mark the bravery of two men who died after saving the town from destruction 75 years ago.
The courageous actions of railway men Benjamin Gimbert, James Nightall and Frank Bridges saved the town from being wiped out on June 2 1944.
A train carrying bombs caught fire while travelling through Soham,
Driver Mr Gimbert, from March, and fireman Mr Nightall, from Littleport, attempted to drive it out of town when it exploded.
Signalman Mr Bridges, from Soham, was about to warn other rail traffic in the area when the wagon exploded.
Soham station was completely obliterated and Mr Nightall and Mr Bridges were instantly killed.
Yesterday (Sunday) the church bells of St Andrews rang out to honour the courageous actions of the men.
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Hundreds of residents mixed with relatives of Mr Gimbert and Mr Nightall and former railway colleagues at the memorial in Red Lion Square.
Many also visited the church to view a commemorative display.
Historian Mike Petty said if it had exploded closer to the town -which current population of about 10,000 - "there would be no Soham".
The explosion destroyed houses and left "scores of families homeless".