Saturday, November 05, 2011

Searching for a memorial to the Zeppelin raid on Loughborough

Walking around the centre of Loughborough it hard to resist the impression that the planners, as the saying goes, have finished what the Luftwaffe began.

But then they have had longer to finish it here than in most towns. Because Loughborough suffered a Zeppelin raid on the night of 31 January 1916 in which 10 people were killed.

The bombs fell on a street called The Rushes, and I had read that there was a memorial to the victims there - the shape of an Iron Cross in the tarmac where one bomb landed and a plaque on a wall nearby.

It is a short street and I searched it thoroughly, but found nothing. So I asked in the excellent The Swan in the Rushes - a welcome haven on a damp grey day. One of the regulars told me that the cross had been sited almost outside the pub, but was lost when the road was resurfaced and the exaggerated central reservation put in.

It seems the plaque is now to be found in the War Memorial Museum at Loughborough Carillon.

I shall go back to see it one day because the story of the Zeppelin raids in Word War I is a fascinating one. You can read about the raids on London in a post on the always excellent blog Londonist.

I suspect their severity has been forgotten because the bombing in World War II was so much worse.

But it is a great shame that the raid on Loughborough is no longer marked in The Rushes.

Later. Mel Gould from the Loughborough Carillon Tower & War Memorial Museum has sent me an email:
The brass commemorative plaque was removed from the Rushes some years ago, when the police recovered the plaque it was placed in the Carillon Tower War Memorial Museum where it is on display with a number of photographs and other items connected to the bombing. 
The granite cross is still there, stand at the bottom of Tesco steps and look across to the kebab shop, the cross is in the centre of the road. On the wall between the kebab shop and the pizza place the wooden board on which the brass plaque was fixed is still there, although its use has been long forgotten by most. 
There is a second granite cross in Empress Road and a second brass plaque telling the story. The cross in Empress Road as suffered the indignity of having a yellow line painted over it.

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