Redmile Man Killed by Lighting
18th July 1934


Alarming Experiences In and Around Melton Mowbray

Holwell Village Shocks

The Melton Mowbray and Vale of Belvoir districts felt the full force of the series of violent thunderstorms which occurred on Wednesday, and which caused considerable havoc.

A Redmile roadman was killed whilst sheltering with several mates in an outhouse between that village and Elton.

A number of other persons were more or less injured. Harby and Stathern Railway Station and many other buildings were damaged and numerous trees were struck by the electric fluid.

Considerable inconvenience was caused at Waltham by a cloud-burst which occurred last Friday. The torrential rainfall which occurred both days has proved very beneficial to garden and field crops.

The dead man was Frederick Samuel Braithwaite, aged 30 of Redmile, a roadman in the employ of Leicestershire County Council. When the storm broke the men were engaged on the Redmile to Elton road and ran for shelter in an outhouse adjoining a cottage occupied by John William Plowright.

The other men were: Messrs., A. Beeton, of Waltham (foreman), E. Bass of Croxton, Martin Lambert of Croxton, A. Henson, Redmile, G. Turner, Bottesford, G. Brown, Redmile, W. Creasey, Redmile and G. Kempton of Brailsby, steam roller driver.

They had only been in the hovel a few minutes when there was a blinding flash and the place was filled with blue flame.

After the men had rushed into the cottage it was discovered that Braithwaite was missing and, on going back, two of them found him laying on the floor gasping for breath.

Artificial respiration was applied without avail and Dr. Royle, of Bottesford, could only pronounce life extinct.

All the other men complained of shock, Beeton was burnt on the leg and Kempton had a hole burnt through his shoe.

Braithwaite was a married man with three children.

Farmhouse Struck

The house of Mr D.C. Holmes, farmer, Burton Lazars, was struck by lightning and the chimney shattered the roof. Mr Holmes, who was sitting in the kitchen, was flung out of his chair, but fortunately escaped injury.

An adjacent Dutch barn belonging to Mr Clements was also struck, the corrugated iron roof being stripped off.

The occupants of a house at Holwell village belonging to Mrs Pugh and rented by Mr Burdett, had a remarkable escape. The chimney was struck by lighting and in its fall shattered thirty or forty of the slates on the roof. The fire grate in on of the front rooms downstairs was blown out and flung into the middle of the room. Fortunately the family were in the room on the opposite side of the passage and no one was hurt.

Considerable damage was done in the Harby and Stathern district. A vivid flash of lighting struck the railway station, the chimney stack and part of the roof being ripped off.

Mr Arthur Pedley, station master, was working in his office at the time and the flying debris and dust filled the room. Discovering that the room was on fire, evidently as a result of the lighting having struck the electric apparatus, he ran for assistance and with the help of porters the fire was extinguished by buckets of water. Though somewhat effected by the shock Mr Pedley escaped injury.

A cottage in Stathern village occupied by Thomas Jacques, a signalman fitter, was struck and the chimney stack with practically the whole of the roof, was flung into the street, narrowly missing passers-by. There was no one in the house at the time.

Harby shocks

A number of telephones in the Harby area were put out of order, and during the storm the two operators at the Harby exchange, Fred Pepper and Miss Betty Starbuck, received a succession of shocks. Linesmen were sent out to repair the damage as soon as the storm passed over.

When the storm broke at Sproxton about twenty men employed by the Park Gates Ironstone works all rushed for shelter in a wooden cabin. There was a terrific flash of lightening which stuck the cabin and sent the men reeling backwards. Five were seriously shocked and had to be taken home while the others also complained of shock.

J. Alexander, of Sproxton, was so seriously shocked that he lost the use of his legs and had to be taken home on a stretcher, while another man complained of injuries to the back.

The others badly burned were Messrs. H. Storey, Saltby, G.Brewster, of Sproxton, T.Geeson, Croxton Kerrial, J.Harris, of Saltby, and A. Hall of Wyville. They were all labourers employed at the works.

A house in Little Dalby was struck, the lightning running along the wireless aerial into the house and setting fire to the curtains. The flames were quickly extinguished before any worse damage could be done.

A Waltham postman named Plant was sheltering in a hut in that village when it was struck by lightning but he escaped uninjured.

Injuries were received by a Coston man who was struck by lightning and he was removed by ambulance.

At Nether Broughton a fire place was demolished when lightning struck a house.

From Melton Times 20th July 1934 (An account of the storms on Wednesday 18th July 1934)