The Great Pembroke Dock Fire

Derek Church - Speaker May 2016

Derek Church – Speaker May 2016

Monthly Meeting – May

An excellent talk was given by Derek Church, one of our members, on the subject “The Great Pembroke Dock Fire”. Without reference to any notes Derek, spoke for forty five minutes, explaining Pembroke Dock was, primarily, a ship-building dock with storage facilities for oil, there being several large tanks in the locality for that purpose.
Whilst the fighter airplanes of the RAF were engaged in the Battle of Britain and our army was in retreat at Dunkirk, a bomber from the German Luftwaffe, protected by two fighter planes, dropped a bomb on one the oil storage tanks.
A sewing machine Salesman from Neyland, Arthur Morris, who also happened to be a retained fire fighter made his way to the fire crossing the estuary by way of the ferry, taking charge of the situation with help from six hundred and fifty fire-fighters from as far away as Birmingham, Newport, Cardiff, Devon and Somerset. The fire raged for twenty one days unlike the great fire of London which burnt for three. Arthur Morris toiled for seventeen days without sleep, five Cardiff firemen were killed and there were thirty eight seriously injured men.
The fire must have been a most terrifying sight to see and experience, thank goodness we now live in relatively peaceful times.

Penny Thomas
5th May 2016

Derek gave a Masterclass in public speaking/story telling. He delivered an excellent talk with no notes, visual aids, ums & errs, hesitation or repetition which certainly left me with a brilliant mental picture of the events from Monday 19 August 1940.

Mike Wort