Former paratrooper walks 11 miles to lay cross on ‘York’s unluckiest street’

Jeffrey Long arrives at Nunthorpe Grove. Photographs: Clement Hall Local History Group
19 Sep 2020 @ 4.34 pm
| History

A wartime tragedy in York has been remembered 75 years on.

Paratrooper Jeffrey Long, 88, walked 11 miles from RAF Linton-on-Ouse to York to lay a wooden cross in Nunthorpe Grove yesterday (Friday).

The walk was one of series undertaken by Jeffrey, which will total 100 miles, to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund and the RNLI.

Jeffrey plants the cross

Nunthorpe Grove has been described as ‘York’s unluckiest street’. It was certainly one of the most ill-fated locations in the Second World War.

In the air raid of 29 April 1942 a bomb dropped on house numbers 23 and 25, destroying these, along with numbers 19 and 21.

Several people were badly injured, and the body of a young ATS girl, Dorothy Thompson, was later found at the bottom of a bomb crater in no.21. The houses were eventually rebuilt in 1946.

Further bombs landed on other parts of the estate, between the houses.

Devastation in Nunthorpe Grove after being hit by a bomb. Photograph: Hugh Murray estate, reproduced in Shadows in the Bricks, a book by Clement Hall Local History Group

In another devastating incident, on 5 March 1945, Halifax bombers from the Canadian 426 Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse took off for a raid on the German city of Chemnitz.

These aircraft suffered from severe icing and three crashed soon after take-off. One broke up under the weight of ice which had accumulated on it, and its fuselage crashed on nos.26 and 28 Nunthorpe Grove, killing two elderly ladies, while one of the engines hit the nearby school.

The aeroplane was carrying eight bombs.

Eleven people died – six of the crew and five civilians – and another 18 were injured in the crash. Four houses were set on fire.

The Halifax bomber which crashed on Nunthorpe Grove. Photograph: Hugh Murray estate, reproduced in Shadows in the Bricks, a book by Clement Hall Local History Group
Jeffrey Long after his 11 mile march

You can read more about ‘York’s unluckiest street’ on the Clement Hall Local History Group website.