22nd September 1940: The destruction of Little Horkesley Church

Got home at 2.15am. Slept until 10.30. Went down to Bourne Mill and met Maura, who had news from London. She appeared quite unconcerned from her experiences, and I was glad to hear that so far the damage in Paddington district has been very small. Neither the station, St. Mary’s [Hospital], nor her “garette” have been hit. She seemed to have no fear of raids. We had a long talk then home to lunch and wash. Rain was just beginning. There was an alarm just after 2, so I went on duty, and heard from Poulter that Warden Lissimore had told him that the fire to the north, which we saw last night, was at [Little] Horkesley, where the church and a public-house had been totally destroyed.

It does not seem possible that a church can be blown to pieces in this way.
Little did I think as I watched the red glow in the north last night what I was looking at.

Went down to Rose’s to tea, and then another alarm this evening. Rain eased off a little, but a very bad night.

Little Horkesley Church was completely destroyed in this air raid attack but Eric and the Colchester Museum staff salvaged many of the church artefacts from the wreckage and restored them before they were returned to the church when it was rebuilt in 1958. More details on this salvage operation are given in Eric's new book: 'E.J. Rudsdale's Journals of Wartime Colchester'.

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