Alfred George NEWMAN, Fireman

Killed during an air raid at Victoria Crescent, Chelmsford. Aged 33

Alfred George Newman was born and brought up in Chelmsford. During the Second World War he served as a fireman in the National Fire Service. Alfred was killed, along with his parents and sister, in May 1943 when their house was destroyed by a German parachute landmine during the 'Chelmsford Blitz'.

killed are believed to have been burned alive after being trapped in their Morrison air raid shelters. Five other people were reported to have been injured in the incident.

The remaining six houses on the western side of Victoria Crescent, numbers 18, 20, 22, 24, 25 & 28, were seriously damaged. Across the road numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 & 19 were considered damaged beyond repair, while the last six houses, numbers 21, 23, 25, 27, 29 & 31, were seriously damaged. In the streets close to Victoria Crescent, blast seriously damaged 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 & Homeleigh Cottage in the northern portion of Glebe Road; and 94, 96, 98 & 100 Marconi Road.

The four Newman victims were buried at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery on 22nd May 1943, with Alfred's parents in grave 5503, and Alfred and his sister in grave 5502. Their funerals were conducted by the Provost of Chelmsford Cathedral, the Very Reverend W. E. R. Morrow.


During the raid a pair of parachute landmines, apparently intended for Marconi’s factory, narrowly missed the factory and struck residential areas. One fell south of the factory exploding in between Townfield Street, Chapel Place, Mill Lane and Railway Street.

The other parachute landmine fell to the north-west of the factory and scored a direct hit on 8 Victoria Crescent, leading to the deaths of nine people, including 33 year-old Alfred, his parents and sister killed at 14 Victoria Crescent.

The brunt of the blast from the Victoria Crescent landmine was felt by the terraced houses on the road’s western side, with numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 & 16, demolished. All the dead came from those properties. Several of those

Alfred was born in Chelmsford in 1910, the son of George Newman and Sarah Ann Newman (nee Stock).  Alfred was baptised at St. Mary's Church, Chelmsford (today's Cathedral) on 4th June 1910. At the time his father was a sawyer of Glebe Cottage, Chelmsford.

He had a sister, Elsie May Newman, born in 1914. When she was baptised at Chelmsford Cathedral on 6th February 1915 Alfred's father was a woodwork machinist living at 24 Victoria Crescent.

By 1943 Alfred, his parents and sister were living at 14 Victoria Crescent in Chelmsford, with Alfred employed as a fireman with the National Fire Service. On 5th May 1943 Alfred performed in the Chelmsford National Fire Service's concert party 'the firecrackers' at the Y.M.C.A. Hall in the town. Proceeds were divided between the Red Cross Prisoner of War Fund and the National Fire Service Welfare Fund.

Just over a week later, in the early hours of 14th May 1943, Chelmsford experienced what was to prove to be its heaviest air raid of the war. In a sharp attack that lasted for just over an hour, the German air force, the Luftwaffe, dropped a large number of high explosive, incendiaries and parachute landmines which caused extensive damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties in the town, and led to the deaths of more than 50 people.