Beryl Kathleen Applegate

Beryl is listed on the War Memorial as one of those who were killed during the Second World War.

Beryl was born on 13th March 1928 in Martham as the third child of Charles Frederick Applegate and Phoebe, nee Annison. She was baptised on 1st April 1928 at St Mary’s and had five siblings namely: Gladys; Frederick; Roy; Leslie and Derick.

She lived with her family at 14 Council Houses, Somerton Road and it was there that a drama unfolded in 1940 when the house was struck by a German bomb during an air raid. The whole family were covered in debris and the house was destroyed. Neighbours rushed to help pulling some of the children from under beams but poor Beryl was killed.

The local newspaper ran an account of the tragedy on 7th September part of which said:
‘Eight people in one family were injured when a German raider bombed an East Coast village on 5th. They were Mr & Mrs Applegate and their six children whose ages range from 4 to 18 years of age.
The father and mother and four children were taken to hospital in an Army ambulance after they had been attended to by the village first-aid party’.
It went on to say:
‘A young warden, Mr A Southgate, risked injury to rescue the two most serious, a boy aged 4 and a girl aged 10. Together with the other young children they had gone into the parlour and remained there during the early part of the evening when bombs were heard exploding in the district.’
‘First to answer the call was the warden, Mr Southgate who lives two doors away. Disregarding the danger, he burrowed his way under wreckage and released two badly injured children and with the help of two other men got them clear.’

The full newspaper report is shown below and although detailed it failed to mention the address or the main fact that Beryl had died during the raid or perhaps as a direct consequence. Her funeral took place on 10th September at St Mary’s and the Yarmouth Mercury published the following report on 21st:

“There were touching scenes at the graveside when the funeral took place last Tuesday week of Beryl Applegate, aged 10, at St Mary’s Church, Martham.  A large congregation attended the service, which was conducted by the vicar (the Revd. H. Griffiths). The lesson was read and the address given by Mr J. R. Bensley. Miss Hilda Dyball was at the organ and the 23rd Psalm was chanted and the hymn ‘There’s a Friend for Little Children’ sung. Among the many present were Miss Deane (the child’s teacher) and many of her schoolmates. All the Council houses in the vicinity were represented by some member of the family.’

Yarmouth Mercury 21st Sept 1940
Yarmouth Mercury report 7th Sept 1940

Local military historian William Buck says a total of nine 50kg bombs were dropped during this incident from Somerton Road to the fields behind Bensley Road and the High School. One of these bombs that landed just outside Baden Bucks shop in Somerton Road was later removed by a bomb disposal unit. The photograph below shows the work being carried out.

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