Officers Killed on the streets of Brighton during World War II

St Mark's School in Arundel Road
Fred Netley
Allen West Radar Machine
From the private collection of Peter Groves

Officers Killed on the streets of Brighton during World War II.

War Reserve Lawrence Holford was on duty in the Lewes  Road area on 30th April 1941 and went to visit the security man of Allen West’s in his hut in Natal Road. While he was in the hut two overhead aircraft collided and the engine of one of the aircraft crashed down on the hut killing both men. 

Pc 187 Frank Barker, aged 33 of 7, Manor Road, Brighton and Pc 111 Kenneth Grinstead, aged 31 of 234, Freshfield Road, Brighton were both killed in Arundel Road on 25th May 1943. 

Frank Barker, a traffic motorcyclist had been delivering orders while Ken Grinstead, the local beat officer, had just seen the children from St. Marks School across the road. 

Pc Harold Stone, aged 40, was a Met. Police officer and transferred to Brighton Police in 1942. He lived with his wife in Saltdean and was on duty in Rottingdean on 18th December 1942 when he was severely injured by a falling bomb and died later the same day from his injuries.

Police Constable Ken Grinstead.

This is the story of P.c. Ken Grinstead in May 1943.

Tuesday 25th May 1943 started as a bright and sunny day although by lunchtime it had clouded over somewhat.

Around midday constable Grinstead arrived in Arundel Road where he was delivering daily orders to the beat constable Frank Barker. They exchanged a few words before Ken moved on. It was usual in those days for the beat policeman to see children out of school and across the roads safely. On this day that was Pc Barker’s job.

Meanwhile, Ken Grinstead had moved up to the Arundel Road/ Whitehawk Road junction and was talking to Mr. Rose who owned a grocer’s shop on the corner of Whitehawk Road and Bristol Gardens.

They had been chatting for a couple of minutes when they both heard a bomb falling and both quickly dropped to the ground with Constable Grinstead’s body partly covering that of Mr. Rose. The bomb of a 1,000 pounds exploded causing huge damage to St. Marks School and surrounding area.

When the dust and dirt cleared, Mr. Rose shakily regained his feet, dusting himself down. Pc Grinstead continued to lay on the pavement seriously injured. He was taken to the Royal Sussex County hospital where he died shortly after arrival.

Four days later on the 29th May his wife gave birth to a baby boy and named him John.

Constable Barker was killed instantly in the blast that followed the explosion on St. Marks School. He was standing in Arundel Road opposite the school.

Only 20 minutes prior to the bomb exploding, the children had left school The mind boggles how little time there was between the children being in the streets and when the bomb fell, and what a terrible disaster it could have been.

One of the teachers at the school, Mrs. Marion DeWitt, had just crossed Arundel Road and was about to enter the chemist shop when she too was seriously injured and died later that day in hospital. DavidRowland

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