Rolls-Royce memorial was unveiled in Derby on 75th anniversary of raid

Seventy-five years after they died, the 23 people who perished when the Luftwaffe attacked the Rolls-Royce aero-engine works in Derby’s Nightingale Road during the Second World War are at last to be commemorated with a permanent memorial.

For several years, the Osmaston Community Association of Residents (OSCAR) has been campaigning to have a memorial erected, not only to commemorate those who lost their lives but also to remind newcomers to the area of the vital role Osmaston played in the conflict through the manufacture of the world-famous Merlin engines that powered Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.

The memorial stands in the community garden behind the Grade-II listed former Rolls-Royce office block – now known as Marble Hall – and, on July 27th 2017,  the 75th anniversary of the raid, it was unveiled by aircraft historians Peter Kirk and Peter Felix, and dedicated by the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Rev Dr Alastair Redfern.

OSCAR chair Mick Whitehead said: “Apparently there was already a memorial, a wooden plaque bearing the names of those who died, but it went missing many years ago. On the 70th anniversary of the raid, we decided that it was time something else was done. It’s taken five years, but at last here we are.

“Everything really fell into place with the refurbishment of the office block, which is one of Derby’s most recognisable landmarks, into a community building.

“Also, we were mindful that so much of our industrial heritage is disappearing. There are newcomers to the area who have no idea of how important Osmaston was, particularly during the Second World War, and we want to make them aware.

“We are so grateful to the Heritage Lottery and to funeral directors A W Lymn for making all this possible. We wanted to make it a community event. First and foremost we wanted to involve the relatives of the deceased – their children and grandchildren and so on. But anyone with an interest in the history of Derby was made most welcome.”

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