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    The image is free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © Peter Alhadeff (WMR-61169)

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  • Use this image under non-commercial licence

    This image was created and shared by: Peter Alhadeff

    The image is free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © Peter Alhadeff (WMR-61169)

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  • Use this image under non-commercial licence

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    The image is free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © Peter Alhadeff (WMR-61169)

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  • Use this image under non-commercial licence

    This image was created and shared by: Peter Alhadeff

    The image is free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © Peter Alhadeff (WMR-61169)

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Memorial details

Memorial type
Board / Plaque / Tablet
District
East Cambridgeshire
Town
Soham
County
Cambridgeshire
Country
England
Commemoration
Second World War - civilians, VC or GC Recipients
Maker
Ivett and Reed Ltd (Mason)
Ceremony
  • Unveiled
    Date: 2 June 2007
    Attended by: HRH THE DUKE OF GLOUCESTER
Lost
Not lost
WM Reference
61169

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Current location

Red Lion Square
Soham
East Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire
CB7 5BS
England

OS Grid Ref: TL 59439 72967
Denomination: Undefined

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Description
Portland Stone base with two line inscription on its front. Bronze plaque on top with map of the town in relief and three columns of interpretation.
Inscription
On plaque: SOHAM RAIL DISASTER 2ND JUNE 1944. ON 2ND JUNE 1944 THE TOWN OF SOHAM WAS SAVED FROM CERTAIN DESTRUCTION WHEN AN AMMUNITION TRAIN CARRYING BOMBS IN PREPARATION FOR D-DAY, CAUGHT FIRE AS IT APPROACHED SOHAM STATION. THE TRAIN COMPRISED 51 WAGONS, 44 OF WHICH WERE PACKED WITH 250 LB AND 500LB BOMBS. DRIVER BEN GIMBERT BROUGHT THE TRAIN TO A SAFE STOP IN THE STATION, WHILE SIGNALMAN, FRANK BRIDGES SENT WORD OF THE IMPENDING DANGER FROM HIS SIGNALBOX. FIREMAN, JAMES NIGHTALL WENT TO UNCOUPLE THE BURNING WAGON FROM THE TRAIN, AND GUARD, HERBERT CLARKE SET OFF FOR BARWAY, PLACING DETONATORS ALONG THE LINE TO WARN ON-COMING TRAINS. THE MEN KNEW THAT THE BURNING WAGON COULD EXPLODE AT ANY MINUTE, AND AT 1.43 AM AS THE POPULATION OF SOHAM SLEPT, A HUGH EXPLOSION ENSUED. FRANK BRIDGES AND JAMES NIGHTALL LAY DEAD ON THE PLATFORM, BEN GIMBERT WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED AND HERBERT CLARKE BLOWN TO HIS KNEES, CONTINUED TO SET DETONATORS. 200 BUILDINGS WERE DAMAGED IN THE EXPLOSION, AND MANY AND MANY PEOPLE WERE INJURED, BUT ONLY TWO DIED. THE ACTIONS OF THESE MEN SAVED COUNTLESS LIVES. THANKS TO THE RECOVERY ACTION LED BY AMERICAN SERVICEMEN THIS VITAL LINE OF COMMUNICATION FOR D-DAY WAS RE-OPENED WITHIN 24 HOURS. BEN GIMBERT AND JAMES NIGHTALL WERE AWARDED THE GEORGE CROSS On Stone: IT IS NOT WITH HOPE, MY FEEBLE PRAISE CAN ADD ONE MOMENT'S HONOUR TO THY OWN.
Inscription legible?
yes
Commemorations
  • Second World War - civilians
    Total names on memorial: 4
    Served and returned: 2
    Died: 2
    Exact count: yes
    Information shown: surname, forename, manner of death, place of death, date of death, decorations, additonal
    Order of information: Undefined
  • VC or GC Recipients
    Total names on memorial: 2
    Served and returned: 1
    Died: 1
    Exact count: yes
    Information shown: surname, forename, manner of death, place of death, date of death, decorations, additonal
    Order of information: Undefined
Components
  • Plaque
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Bronze
  • Plinth
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone - Portland
Listing information
Condition
Costs

Comments: £15,000 provided by Heritage Lottery Fund and the balance by public subscription.
Memorial: £25,000

Trust fund/Scholarship
No
Purpose: Unknown or N/A
Sponsorship
Public,other
Reference

This record comprises all information held by IWM’s War Memorials Register for this memorial. Where we hold a names list for the memorial, this information will be displayed on the memorial record. Please check back as we are adding more names to the database.

This information is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC licence.

This means you may reuse it for non-commercial purposes only and must attribute it to us using the following statement:

© WMR-61169

For queries, please contact [email protected]