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Victims of blitz on Beamish are honoured.

Byline: By Lisa Hutchinson

It was one of the worst nights in the history of the village of Beamish ( when three bombs landed, killing eight people.

Now the names of those who died in the County Durham air raid are to be listed on a memorial plaque for a dedication just days after the anniversary of D-Day.

Local historian Jack Hair has written a booklet about the night the Germans dropped their bombs on Beamish ( May 1st, 1942, when 25 people were also injured.

The raiders were believed heading for Durham and when they thought they were over the Cathedral they were in fact mostly over open fields and the Derwent Valley.

Three bombs were dropped at Beamish, four at Finchale Priory, three at Grange Colliery Yard, at Carville and four at High Knitsley, at Consett.

Nine-year-old Clive Lawson, the adopted son of MP Jack Lawson, was among the dead.

Now another Member of Parliament, Kevan Jones, is to unveil the plaque next Saturday, which will list the names of those who died. Great grandad Mr Hair, 65, of Mandela Close, Ox Hill, Stanley, said: "It started off with a chat with a few friends who are also interested in history. We were told about the Beamish bombings and I started looking into it.

"I eventually made a booklet about it and I found out that was Durham City's miracle became Beamish's disaster.

"Eight people were killed and approximately 25 injured. Every house in Beamish was damaged in some way.

"There are some survivors still around today to tell the tale. They have very interesting stories to tell and they will be at the unveiling of the plaque.

"Durham Constabulary Police Choir and Band will also be there as there were two police officers killed that night.

"I gave a talk to the South Moor Local History Group and they have gathered the funds for the plaque that will be unveiled on June 12, in Station Road, at Beamish."

"The plaque will name Special Constables Sam Edgell and Robert Reay, Gwendoline Hannant, Clive Lawson, Irene Seymour, Matilda Seymour, Elizabeth Ann Spence and Sylvia Spence."

Mr Jones, MP for North Durham, said: "I will be dedicating this plaque and there are two very significant reasons why I will be doing the unveiling.

"The first is because it's just after the anniversary of D-Day and the second is because the son of one of my predecessors was killed in the Beamish bombings.

"There are survivors of that night and they have been invited to the unveiling of the plaque. It was a disaster for Beamish, for the civilians who were tackling the war at home."

NDon't miss our D-Day special in Remember When in Your Life
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2004
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