Families of WW2 veterans join Jeremy Corbyn in presenting plaque

Reverend Nigel Williams, Cllr Gallagher, Mayor of Islington; John Williams; Jeremy Corbyn MP

(From left to right): Reverend Nigel Williams, who led a minute's silence prior to the plaque's unveiling; Cllr Gallagher, Mayor of Islington; John Williams; Jeremy Corbyn MP; and Cllr Burgess - Credit: Islington Council 

Families of Second World War veterans joined Islington councillors and MP Jeremy Corbyn for the unveiling of a memorial plaque to remember a tragedy. 

The ceremony was to remember the events of November 5, 1944, when a V2 rocket exploded in Boothby, Giesbach and Grovedale Roads in Archway, causing 250 casualties and 35 fatalities. 

Many homes were destroyed in the blast, which stretched as far as St John’s Way, with the oldest victim being 92 and the youngest just five months. 

Jeremy Corbyn MP; Cllr Gallagher, Mayor of Islington; Jan Whelan, and Bruce Kent.

Statue restored (From left to right): Jeremy Corbyn MP; Cllr Gallagher, Mayor of Islington; Jan Whelan, a former Islington councillor who helped unveil the original statue; and Bruce Kent. - Credit: Islington Council

One of the attendees was John Williams, 69, whose father Edward lost his first wife and two of his children in the attack. 

He said the unveiling of the plaque “was very moving” and “will help to educate present and future generations about the events of that sad day”.


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“What went through my head was my father walking down that road,” he said. 

“He was on leave in Egypt at the time the explosion happened, but he would come home to see his wife and children, and then go back to Egypt. I can imagine him walking down that road when everything was pretty good. It was very emotional for me. 

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The crowd then walked to the Elthorne Park Noel-Baker Peace Garden. The attendees celebrated the restoration of the statue ‘Upon Reflection’ which had been taken down in previous years.  

The statue is a self-portrait of the artist Kevin Atherton and was commissioned by Bruce Kent in 1985 who was General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

John Williams, whose relatives lost their lives in the attack; and Mayor of Islington Cllr Gallagher

(From left to right): John Williams, whose relatives lost their lives in the attack; and Mayor of Islington Cllr Gallagher - Credit: Islington Council

Councillor Una O’Halloran, Islington Council’s executive member for community development, said: “The unveiling of the plaque means that the lives lost on that day will never be forgotten by the local community.  

“The events of that day serve as a reminder of the tragic losses that conflict can bring, and highlight the importance of living in peace.

“That is why the Elthorne Park Peace Garden is such an important part of the borough, celebrating the life of Philip Noel-Baker, the man who spent so much of his career fighting for nuclear disarmament.”  
 

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