Looking on my office shelves I noticed my copy of the
‘Sands of Time -Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes Nature Reserve – through the memories of local people
editted by Claire Weaver, which was published 10 years ago and where I first came across the infamous English Nature storytelling sessions in the Prussian Queen Pub in Saltfleetby, and my perfect Knowledge Sharing ‘straightening the river Haven’ story.
Looking back through it brought back so many memories of what it was got me interested in storytelling in the first place. One story which often listeners don’t believe is the bombing of the Prussian Queen ladies loo. Over to David Robinson to recall:
Well, in one of my evening classes, I had someone who had been a bomber in the days when the range was first opened. You carried a practice bomb between your knees, and you primed it, and leaned over the side to get an aim on target. Well, the wind takes the bomb off course, half a mile by the time it’s come down.
The most famous one of all is about the Prussian Queen two miles away, at least. There is a story that this practice bomb lodged in the outside ladies’ loo and everybody just falls about and says “you’re making it up”. Well look, this chap on my evening class was the son of the chap who was flying the aircraft and I have a copy of the log of the aircraft complete with a photograph from the Grimsby Evening Telegraph of the said object in the broken pan of the ladies’loo.(which was unoccupied at the time)
Chris Appleby then adds further detail:
I presume that it was dropped by Nine Squadron, which was operating out of Binbrook and Coningsby at the time. They were there from 1952 to 1961 so it was obviously during that time that it happened. We know from newspaper clippings that the pilots name was Flavell and that he was flying a Canberra aircraft and that it was a 25 pound practice bomb.
Isn’t oral history fascinating, from fragments like these you not only get amazing specific details but a real sense of what it was like to live there at the time.
Finally part of a poem, allegedly crafted by the pilot and now part of RAF folklore, adds to the local interest in this story:
The Bombing of the Prussian Queen’s ladies Loo
Three old ladies locked in the lavatory
Hiding from bombs from Monday to Saturday
9 Squadron knew they were there.
Our story’s nearly over, and I’m sorry to say
The 9 Squadron aircraft are bombing today
So the ladies of Saltfleetby are moving away
For the Prussian Queen’s loo is their target today!