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- Bembridge IW
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- 02 August 2004
BEMBRIDGE INCIDENT 15th May 1944.
01.30 hours. Telephone message received from Miss Weeks at County Control “One H.E. bomb exploded in Steyne Road, Bembridge, one serious and two minor casualties.”
As it was then half an hour after the all-clear when this message was received and the incident obviously not large, I did not contact Mrs. Ferard in view of her recent illness.(Her Deputy, Mrs. Cotton Swanston had unfortunately only a day or so earlier had to give up all voluntary work, with the exception of the Canteen, on account of heart trouble). I knew that Mrs.Ferard would be on the scene if well enough and that in any case full details of the Housewives’ Service in Bembridge were known to the Wardens, with whom very close contact had been established, so that the Service would come into action automatically.
09.30 hours. Telephone message from Mr.Wilson: “Has the Bembridge Rest Centre closed ?” As this was my first intimation that it had opened I immediately telephoned Mrs. Ferard and Mrs. Mitchell for situation reports, which were as follows:
Mrs Ferard. Rang Warden’s Post at 01.00 hours to inform them that she was standing by if assistance required. At 01.30 hours she received a call from the Wardens Post asking her to go to Steyne Road and take charge of the W.V.S work at the incident. The Rest Centre was being opened and a number of homeless had already made their way there. Five people were directed to the W.V.S. house inSteyne Road, two of whom were billeted from there later that night. Of the remaining three, two have since been billeted, but one, with a weak heart, cannot at present be moved, according to the Doctor’s orders. By 03.30 all homeless had been provided for.
Mrs.Mitchell. A call was received from the Wardens’ post at 01.00 for the Rest Centre to be opened. It was open at 01.30 and took in 11 people. They were given breakfast the following morning and billeted by 09.00, when the Rest Centre was officially closed.
09.40 hours. Mrs. Wilson informed as above.
12.45 hours. Telephone request received from Mr. Leal, County Salvage Officer, for two clerks to attend at Bembridge Hotel at 14.30 hours to record details of salvaged furniture. Work expected to continue to 17.00 hours. Mrs. Ferard and one helper reported at the Hotel but owing to a misunderstanding a representative of the Rural District Council was already there and dealing with the furniture.
At. 15.30 hours Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Swan and |I visited Bembridge, calling at the Rest Centre and going on to Steyne Road, where soldiers were loading furniture for removal. We found Mrs. Ferard and her helper at Bembridge Hotel and immediately arranged for them to leave, as their services had not been required. A few moments later, however, the R.D.C representative left and double loads of furniture arrived. Mrs. Ferard and Mrs. Stevens stayed on to deal with the goods and it was eventually 22.00 hours before the last load was under cover.
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