"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

August 31, 2012

WINDSCALE - 1957



On Oct. 10, 1957, fire struck Pile 1 at the Windscale nuclear power station in West Cumbria.

"There was no smoke and no flames and most local people were oblivious to what is generally seen as the world's first nuclear accident," the BBC said.

It took several tries for nuclear station personnel  to suppress the flames. 

August 26, 2012

SNAKEHIPS


"Snakehips"

On March 18, 1941, German bombs crashed onto the dance floor at the Soho club Cafe de Paris and killed at least 34 people, including orchestra leader Ken "Snakehips" Johnson.
 
The story goes his band was playing "O Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!" when the bombs landed in the basement venue considered as safe as a bomb shelter.

One account said rescuers found Johnson found horribly mangled in the runs; another account said he was hardly scathed and still had a flower in his lapel.


According to a Daily Mail story commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Blitz:

"The floor was heaving with couples. Suddenly, there was an immense blue flash. Two bombs had hit the building, hurtled down a ventilation shaft from the roof and exploded right in front of the band.  The dead and dying were heaped everywhere. Champagne was cracked open to clean wounds."

Among those fatally injured was Meg Hargrove, a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service, whose name appears on the U.K. Firefighters National Memorial.

The club re-opened after the war and remains in business today.

According to its website:

"In 1939 the Café was allowed to stay open even though theatres and cinemas were closed by order. People gossiped their way through the blackout and the Café was advertised as a safe haven by Martin Poulson, the maitre d', who argued that the four solid storeys of masonry above were ample protection."

August 24, 2012

OLYMPIC TORCH


HUNTS WASTE RECYCLING CENTRE, CHEQUERS LANE, DAGENHAM 

During the 2012 Olympics, a smoke column from a 40-pump fire at a recycling plant in London's Dagenham district was visible several miles away - at the Olympic Park.

“We’ve not seen a fire of this size in London for several years," London Fire Commissioner Roy Dobson told the BBC.

"It’s certainly a dramatic end to the Olympics for the London Fire Brigade," Dobson said.

The blaze broke out on Aug. 12, 2012 and fire crews remained on the scene for an extended period.

Fire cover at the Olympic wasn't affected, the Evening Standard reported.

That wasn't the only notable fire related to the Olympics.

On Aug. 8, an outdoor barbecue fueled by gas cylinders exploded into flames at a venue for New Zealand fans.

Three hundred people were evacuated from Kiwi House in central London, according to the fire brigade.

Richard Welch, station manager at the Poplar fire station, told the Press Association: "People in the vicinity reported hearing an explosion."