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Byline: Christina Savvas

MOVING tributes were paid at the first memorial to be held at the site of the BSA arms factory in Birmingham where 53 people were killed during the Second World War.

Up to 40 ex-workers, relatives, retired serviceman, motorcyclists and others were united yesterday at the former Birmingham Small Arms factory building in Armoury Road, Small Heath.

They remembered the men and women who lost their lives in one of the worst air raids suffered by the city.

For the first time in 70 years wreathes were laid amid renewed calls for a permanent memorial to be created at the site.

Jon Price, organiser of the BSA Memorial Appeal and founder of the Made in Birmingham website, said: "It is ten years since the Spitfire memorial went up, but BSA made a far great contribution to the war. BSA actually provided more than half of the guns used during the Second World War.

"If 52 council workers were killed in Birmingham today a memorial would be up within a year."

On the night of November 19, 1940, Birmingham suffered one of the worst raids of the blitz when a German bomber dropped two bombs on the site.

Many shift workers stayed at their machines when the sirens sounded and when they decided to vacate, the intensity of the raid made it impossible to reach shelters safely.

One worker was pulled out alive but the rest were crushed to death when the building collapsed. Wartime restrictions meant the raid could not be reported by the media.

Sheila Pugh, who lost her uncle Albert Hird that night, aged just 38, attended the memorial to lay a wreathe.

She said: "When I heard about the memorial I wanted to be here. I am so pleased something has been organised - the first time ever. I think there should be a permanent memorial."



the bombing, and (inset) a wreath laid for victims. Picture: Iain Findlay Haunting memory: An artist's impression of the factory inferno.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 20, 2010
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