Victor Arthur Joslin was born and brought up in Great Tey. During the war he worked at the Marconi factory in New Street, Chelmsford. He was killed there in May 1941 when the factory was bombed by the Luftwaffe. 16 other workers died in the incident. He lived in Great Tey.
Victor Arthur JOSLIN, Civilian
Killed in air raid on Marconi's factory, New Street, Chelmsford. Aged 31
The fourth bomb, a 250 Kg. high explosive, narrowly missed the Marconi works and fell onto houses in Marconi Road, where two people received fatal injuries. A terrace of six houses near the junction with The combined effects of blast from all four bombs affected around 375 other properties within a quarter of a mile radius with damage mainly confined to windows, doors, roofs and ceilings.
Victor's sister-in-law was the daughter of one of the other victims of the bombing, Charles Thomas Franklin.
Victor left an estate valued at £237 9s.
Victor was born in Great Tey in 1909, the son of Walter Amos Joslin and Beatrice Nora Joslin (nee Webb).
He had five siblings: Beatrice L Joslin (1911-), Alice F Joslin (1913-), Claude Joslin (1916-), Bertram Amos 'Bertie' Joslin (1919-1972) and Brenda Evelyn Joslin (1921-2005).
In 1911 Victor was recorded by the census, aged one, living with his parents in The Street, Great Tey. His father was a horseman on a farm.
By 1941 Victor was working for the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. at their premises in New Street, Chelmsford. His home was at Pleasant Place in Great Tey.
His brother Berties also worked at the factory. They would cycle to Kelvedon from Great Tey, park at the blacksmith's shop and then catch the bus to Chelmsford to get to Marconi's where they both worked nights,
Victor died on 9th May 1941, one of 17 workers killed when his workplace was bombed in a skilled raid by the Luftwaffe. He was aged 31. A further 20 people were seriously injured and 18 others slightly hurt in the factory.
A red air raid warning had
sounded the previous evening at 11.24 p.m. but all was quiet until 2.22 a.m. when an enemy Junkers Ju 88 approached the town. Eyewitnesses saw the raider clearly in the almost full moonlight, as it dived to within a few hundred feet of roof tops, released two bombs, circled and dropped two more, before rising rapidly and escaping towards the coast. The aircraft had in fact come so low that those who had seen it thought it likely to hit Chelmsford Cathedral's spire.
Three of the bombs which were dropped scored direct hits on Marconi’s, whilst another went astray and struck residential properties in Marconi Road which ran along the northern side of the factory. Marconi’s was an obvious target for the Luftwaffe. The New Street factory carried out vital work for several Government departments - designing, testing, developing and producing wireless instruments for the Admiralty, Air Ministry, Ministry of Supply and the Crown Agents.
Of the factory’s 3221 workers, some 390 were engaged on the night shift at the time of the raid. They had been on duty since 8.15 p.m. the previous evening and were due to finish at 7.30 a.m., with the day shift taking over fifteen minutes later. The air raid warning had interrupted work of the two hundred or so employees in the machine shop The men there had taken shelter behind an internal blast wall, whilst the women had gone to the strong rooms below the main office building.
The bombs that hit Marconi’s fell at the western end of the main factory building. One, thought to have been a 250 kg. DH high explosive, exploded in the centre of machine shop which occupied the southern half of the building. Another, a 500 kg. DH high explosive, fell on its northern half, through the first floor carpenters’ shop and detonated on the floor of the SWB8 transmitter erection shop beneath it. This bomb ignited a drum of cellulose in the carpenters’ shop and the fire rapidly spread across debris into the neighbouring paint spray shop.
There, dope was ignited and several men, who had survived the initial explosions, were trapped behind a blast wall and killed by the fire before rescuers could reach them.
The fire was eventually brought under control by 5 a.m., though not before flames had spread to Ridley’s flour mill in neighbouring Townfield Street. Damage there was extensive with a very large number of roof slates lost, timbers charred and internal linings destroyed.
One of Victor's relatives later wrote:
"Unusually on that particular night Victor and Bertie had gone to different areas to shelter. That probably saved Bertie's life. Their youngest sister, Brenda, who had to look after the family following the death of their mother in 1939, had seen them both off to work. When neither of them returned home the next morning, she was naturally worried and went to the shop, which had the only telephone in the village at the time. She found several people gathering who had head rumours that Marconi's had been bomed.
Later in the day, Bertie arrived home, wearing someone else's clothes, and told them of Victor's death. He was severely shocked and eventually died of a heart condition - possibly caused by his experience in the war."
During the day following the bombing, whilst clearing up operations continued at the factory, a worker reported hearing tapping sounds from beneath the debris of the wrecked paint spray and transmitter erection shops. Immediately, workmen with crowbars and shovels began frantic attempts to locate the source of the sounds but despite their efforts no one could be found and it was decided to terminate any further rescue work as it was concluded that anyone still buried would be dead by then.
On the following day, Saturday 10th May, the large pile of debris was cleared and somewhat alarmingly the source of the tapping sounds was clear to be seen by all - a third 500 Kg delayed action high explosive bomb, lay there unexploded but still ticking. Its serial number Ex 536 could be clearly seen. The Bomb Disposal Squad was immediately called in and the factory and surrounding streets were evacuated. Such was the nature and position of the device that the B.D.S. were forced to detonate the bomb where it lay. A warning was put out to this effect, and at 10.30 a.m. on Monday 12th May the bomb was exploded in situ. Further damage was inflicted to the factory, but fortunately there were no further casualties.