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Author Topic: VJ Day Celebrations 1945  (Read 2679 times)

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Offline Dave Smith

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VJ Day Celebrations 1945
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2015, 13:08:43 »
I was a first year apprentice at Shorts Seaplane Works, Rochester when VJ Day occured. To mark this, on the Saturday evening, Shorts decided to have a victory bonfire on waste ground a short distance past the hardstanding outside No. 18 shop. Access was either from the Esplanade, along the riverside road and footpath or down footpaths from Borstal. We arrived to find the large bonfire built of packing case wood and finished off with 12 ft. high "teepee" poles, around which were wrapped coils of waterproof wrapping paper (asphalt sandwich). Standing, on the Medway side, and not too close fortunately, we watched the " lighters" pouring paraffin? (might have been petrol!) all around the base before setting it alight. After a short while, when the flames had got a good hold, suddenly "whoosh" and up into the air went a mass of flames, at least 30/40 ft. (I suspect fuel vapour trapped within the "teepee"). We all moved back- very quickly! - but some, on the Borstal side, were not so lucky & were burnt. A short while later an ambulance arrived - access not at all good - and took the casualties away (two females I heard). Sadly put a dampener on the celebrations. I wonder if there is anyone still around who was also there - and what happened to the casualties.

 

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