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Last Updated: Monday, 16 February, 2004, 12:04 GMT
Blitz fire-watchers commemorated
Canterbury Cathedral
A bomb fell within 8 ft of the Bell Harry Tower during the Blitz
A plaque is being unveiled at Canterbury Cathedral in memory of fire-watchers who risked their lives during the Blitz.

During World War II, men sat on the cathedral roof to make sure incendiary devices did not set it alight.

Some 10,000 devices were dropped on the city and lives were lost during two air raids on Canterbury in 1942.

The cathedral survived unscathed, although 16 high-explosive bombs were dropped nearby.

Cathedral spokesman Christopher Robinson said the cathedral owes its existence to the fire-watchers.

If the fire-watchers had not of got on top of those then the building would have burnt down
Christopher Robinson

Mr Robinson said luckily the cathedral was not hit by high explosive bombs but incendiary devices were a threat.

He said: "There were 16 high explosive bombs that fell on the precinct but fortunately none fell on to the cathedral itself.

"Apparently one bomb came as close as 8ft from the Bell Harry Tower but lots of the incendiary devices did fall on the building.

"If the fire-watchers had not got on top of those then the building could have burnt down.

"Sadly the library was destroyed and glass was blown out of windows but nothing of major importance was affected."

Blitz spirit at 1948 Olympics
12 Feb 03  |  England


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