An outstanding early Eastbourne Blitz George Medal pair to Alfred Ernest Blackmer, a member of 21st Sussex (Eastbourne) Home Guard, who was decorated for his bravery in working through the night the rescue trapped civilians following the 28/29th September 1940 raid – this despite the proximity of a delayed action bomb and risk of heavy debris from the collapsed building falling on him; Eastbourne being the most raided town in the south-east.
Pair: George Medal, G.VI.R. (Alfred Ernest Blackmer); Defence Medal, in O.H.M.S. box of transmission addressed to the recipient at 62, Sidley Road, Eastboure, Sussex.
Together with the recipient’s ‘The Royal Society of St. George’, Honourary Membership Certificate; 21st Sussex (Eastbourne) Battalion Home Guard, Record of Membership and Service booklet (staples removed); letter from Sir Auckland Geddes, Civil Defence, No.12 (South Eastern) Region, announcing the award of the George Medal; letter of congratulation form the Town Clerk of Eastbourne and various newspaper cuttings regarding the action and also announcing his death in 1970.
Condition: Extremely Fine.
George Medal, G.VI.R., London Gazette 35043, 17th January 1941. pp. 330.)
Alfred Ernest BLACKMER. Member of Rescue Party.
“As a result of a raid by enemy aircraft three houses were completely demolished and several persons were trapped under the wreckage. The efforts of the Fire Brigade were a great contributing factor to the ultimate release of five of the persons trapped. Chief Officer Phillips acted with much energy and resource, making many excursions under the wreckage, directing operations and generally encouraging his men. Rescue and other Services were immediately in action at the scene but some time later an unexploded H.E. bomb was discovered 200 feet away. In consequence volunteers were called for, Blackmer, May, Stevens and Turney were among those to volunteer.
Blackmer, Stevens and Turney were concerned in the work of penetrating the wall of a cellar, through a matchboard refrigerator lined with cork and then through another 12 inch concrete wall. This work was carried out in dangerous conditions, in a very confined space with the constant peril of heavy falling debris. Through these efforts, three of the persons trapped were rescued. May laboured unceasingly throughout the night in a most gallant manner.
Blackmer and Turney were overcome with the cold and the effects of escaping gas and water in the cellar and had to be taken to the Depot. Some time later, however, they returned to work and gave strenuous aid to the task of releasing a young girl who was pinned down by timber and debris, a weight which six jacks had failed to move. After heavy toil, the timber was at last lifted. The whole of this courageous action was carried out in appalling conditions. In their efforts, which greatly contributed to the ultimate rescue of five of the seven trapped persons, these men laboured in an atmosphere rendered foul by escaping gas, in a cellar filling with water. Further they worked for a great part of the period with the knowledge that there was a delayed-action bomb only 200 feet away.”
Alfred Blackmer was a member of a rescue group who went into action when a bomb fell in Cavendish Place. A total of 14 gallantry decorations were awarded as a result of that raid in which four people died. Mr Blackmer of Sidley Road was employed as a bricklayer for the old Eastbourne Corporation and died age 81.