A memorial service was held at Marble Hall in Osmaston today, unveiling a new plaque to remember those who lost their lives in the World War II bomb, back in 1942.
The former Rolls-Royce building on Nightingale Road in Osmaston, was tragically hit by four bombs in the Luftwaffe air raid on 27 July 1942, killing 23 men, women and children.
In 2016, the building was the subject of a major £4.4m refurbishment, transforming it into a managed work space facility and community hub managed by Connect Derby, part of Derby City Council.
The memorial plaque features the names and ages of those who died in the attack 75 years ago, as well as the words “no pain, no grief, no anxious fear can reach our loved ones remembered here.
It has been erected following several years of campaigning by the Osmaston Community Association of Residents (OSCAR), who wanted to commemorate those who lost their lives as well as remind newcomers to the area of the vital role Osmaston played in the Second World War. The Nightingale Road aero-engine works manufactured the world-famous Merlin engines that powered Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.
The plaque was unveiled in the community garden behind the iconic grade-II listed building by aircraft historians Peter Kirk and Peter Felix, and dedicated by the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Rev Dr Alastair Redfern, at the special memorial service attended by local dignitaries and members of the community.
Here is an exert from Councillor Baggy Shanker’s speech:
“Welcome, my Lord-Lieutenant, The High Sheriff of Derbyshire, The Right Reverend Bishop of Derby, The Right Worshipful Mayor of the City of Derby, ladies and gentlemen, family and friends; I would like to thank you for joining us today on this most special of occasions. I also appreciate some of you have travelled many miles to be with us today, and for that we are truly honoured.
We are here today to witness the dedication of this memorial; a fitting tribute I believe that remembers those who tragically lost their lives as a result of the bombing of Rolls-Royce and Osmaston. Over the next hour you will hear more regarding the events that befell this community 75 years ago today, in addition to the ceremony itself. After the ceremony there is a lunch which we hope as many of you can remain for and exchange memories and maybe reconnect with lost friends.
Although today is about remembering past events, it is also about looking to the future. There has always been a strong sense of community here in Osmaston; a community that pulls together and supports each other, as they did following the events in 1942, they do now in regenerating their own neighbourhood.
Indeed it is this community – OSCAR the residents association – that has campaigned for this memorial and organised today and continues to lead the long term future vision for Osmaston, including here, Marble Hall, which has undergone a £4 million refurbishment to create a vibrant community and business space, and behind us OSCAR are working with developers and the council to provide new homes for both local people and new families moving into the area.
Which is another reason why today is important. Many people living on the estate knew nothing of the bombing, and with so many new families moving into Osmaston over the next 10 years, it is important to preserve and promote the rich industrial heritage of this neighbourhood.
So leading up to today OSCAR and a number of partners including Derby Homes, the City Council, Derby Connect, Rolls-Royce Heritage Centre and the local Primary School have worked together to preserve and promote the industrial heritage of Osmaston, and with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we have delivered Creative Workshops and displays involving local children, School workshops, History Boards, and a heritage guide produced by the local community. And of course the Memorial, which is why we’re here today.
So on that note, I would like to again thank you, and together may we honour the memory of lost loved ones and friends.”