Take a step back into Boston’s history with our weekly nostalgia column

The battered mini car lying in a roadside dyke in Frithville.
The battered mini car lying in a roadside dyke in Frithville.

70 years ago...1941

A LONE enemy raider made its appearance at an east coast village one afternoon, descending suddenly and dropping 12 bombs.

Three horses were killed and another so badly injured it had to be put down. Windows were shattered in the village’s Methodist Chapel and the explosions could be heard for miles around.

AN EAST coast town was bombed on a Saturday afternoon killing two people.

The noise of a powerful plane was reported shortly before scores of people saw what was believed to have been a Junkers 88 flying at low altitude beneath the clouds. Several people saw the bombs discharged from the plane before a series of loud explosions were heard.

The aircraft roared its way across the centre of town towards the sea as people, many of then shopping in the town, sought any bit of shelter they could find. Two cafes were among the buildings hit by bombs. In the first, sailors and airmen were having tea before a bomb dropped and killed a sailor called Featherstone.

In the second café, the proprietor was killed by flying shrapnel or glass when his premises took a direct hit.

‘THIS spring Hitler is going to throw at us everything he has got- including the kitchen sink’ – so warned Ellen Wilkinson, parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Home Security. “We are facing the peak of war when Hitler will make his maximum effort’ – she warned on a trip to the Midlands.

THE children of St Mary’s School, Horncastle Road, Boston, found a novel way of keeping spirits up while passing the time in the security of the shelter.

The school, which held the record in the area for getting into the shelters in the quickest time, had a ‘siren song’.

It was being rehearsed by the children when The Standard called in to see them. The song went: ‘There goes the siren, ooh ooh ooh; Here comes the Jerry bomber, what is he going to do? Off to the shelter, away we must go; Wait for the ‘all clear’ to blow, ooh ooh ooh.’

40 years ago...1971

BOSTON dock was facing ‘disaster’ according to port manager Capt A. T. Harris who declared the local industry was facing a worrying future.

“Over the last six months we’ve had the worst strike record among small ports in the entire country,” said Capt Harris. “Where, I must ask, is this leading to?” The previous week, 165 Boston dockers took the day off and the port stopped in protest of the Government’s Industrial Relations Bill.

POLICE searched a water-filled roadside dyke for a woman thought to be missing after a spectacular two-car crash.

One of the injured drivers told police from his hospital bed that he thought he was carrying a female passenger in his car – which ended up in the dyke. But officers found nothing when they revisited the scene of the crash at Short’s Corner, Frithville. The police said the driver’s memory was confused after the crash which left him ‘badly shaken’. A neighbour outside feeding his pigs at the time reported hearing a loud bang and ran to the scene to help the men, from Boston and Stickney. The drivers of both cars sustained head injuries but were discharged from hospital after a couple of days.

A CONINGSBY mother of four was rescued apparently not seriously harmed, from a car that overturned into West Fen Drain – but collapsed and died after receiving hospital treatment. An inquest into her death found the 37-year-old woman showed evidence of having ‘drowned’ – on dry land and four hours after the car plunged into the drain.

30 years ago...1981

THE Standard was preparing ‘to make a little bit of history’ by turning from a broadsheet-sized paper into an ‘easier to read’ tabloid.

One concerned reader said: “Hey don’t change the Standard – it’ll be like losing an old friend!’. The Standard replied – ‘He’ll be the same friend – but he’ll be wearing a new outfit that makes him look ever so smart’.

EXPERTS suggested Lincolnshire would be a likely target in the event of nuclear war – due to all the RAF bases in the county.

This would lead to widespread devastation of the county’s towns and villages. Lincolnshire had nine nuclear bunkers to house future authorities. Boston housed the stand-by centre in the basement of the county offices in the town – which had a ‘direct line’ to Lincoln.

SIX-year-old Helen Dodson, of Francis Bernard Close, Boston, could have been one of the county’s youngest darts players.

Helen, the daughter of top county player Roy Dodson, was the youngest competitor in the Tony Jones Junior competition for 18s and under at the Anglia Motel. She was beaten by a six-foot tall 17-year-old boy. Winner of the competition for the second year running was 18-year-old Trevor Wand, of Bicker.

BOSTON firemen were praised for their quick actions when a ship moored on Witham Wharf caught fire. Coun James Alcorn raised the alarm when the paint store of the motor vessel caught fire at the end of December.

He wrote a letter of praise to the brigade’s divisional commander and was invited to look around the Boston Fire Station. Coun Alcorn wished the two firemen injured during the incident, a speedy recovery.

20 years ago...1991

BOSTON’S poll tax payers were facing an increase of £78 on their bills in 1991 after outraged councillors heard the borough was being treated worse than any other council in the country. The rise prompted Coun Fred Gilchrist to say he would be joining others in the town in not paying the tax.

Coun John Wallis added: “I think it’s atrocious. We are being treated extremely badly.”

A BOSTON woman was calling for more poll tax to be spent on the town’s pavements after she injured herself tripping over a paving stone in Sleaford Road. Josephine Wilkinson (49) bruised her leg, suffered cuts to her knee and ended up with black eyes when she tripped over a damaged paving stone.

“I caught my toe and went right over on my face,” she said. “I thought someone was going to get hurt and in the end, it was me!”

A BOSTON mother was taken to court by the borough council for failing to pay just 60p of her poll tax bill. Ruth Zwaan and her husband Adrian, of Wyberton West Road, had to pay a community charge bill of £225 each. But as Ruth told The Standard: “We scrimped and saved over Christmas and got together the money we needed. On December 27 my husband went in and paid it all in full and we thought that was the end of it.” The couple, who had a 14-month-old daughter, received a shock when a letter came through from the council about the court proceedings as 60p was still outstanding. After ringing the council they were told there had been a mistake when the original bill was paid – but they still had to make a trip in to pay the 60p.

Members of the fourth Boston Guide Company performed their own version of the Cindarella story at Centenary Church hall – swapping glass slippers for rubber wellies. This was one of several departures from the traditional story which entertained the audience. Pictured is Jane Hancock, Katie Timby, Sandra Simpson and Natalie Hancock.