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Home   Ashford   News   Article

Historic air raid helmet used at Ashford Railway Works during Second World War bought by history group

28 March 2014
by Tim Collins

A piece of the town’s history has been brought back to the borough by a group of history buffs.

Members of the Facebook group Ashford Kent Remembering The Way It Once Was clubbed together to buy a historical helmet which was spotted on an online auction site by one of its members.

The Southern Railways air raid precautions helmet dates back to the Second World War and would have been worn by workers at the railway works in Newtown.

A woman blacksmith working at the Railway Works

A woman blacksmith working at the Railway Works

The item was put on the market by a seller in the Midlands, and the group pooled together to pay £75 to see it return to its home town.

A spokesman for the group said: “This effort has, from the very start, been a joint one. I posted a picture of the helmet and a message asking for help and the response was very good.

“Once the responses started coming in it snowballed, and just before the auction ended on Saturday morning we had around 22 contributors.

Southern Railway Ashford ARP Helmet

Southern Railway Ashford ARP Helmet

“I was ready to put the bid in right at the very last minute, but with less than a minute to go, someone else had bid.

“We had already agreed on how much our top bid was and having placed it within 30 seconds of the auction ending, I hit the button and we won. By the end of that day we had a total of 25 members that had pledged, so each contributor only had to pay £3 to bring this unique piece of our town’s history home.”

The railway works were among the primary sites bombed by a force made up of 15 Focke Wulf 190 aircraft on March 24, 1943, 71 years ago on Monday.

A Focke-Wulf Fw 190

A Focke-Wulf Fw 190

Although it is not known whether this helmet was used in that fateful raid, it dates from that period.

The group hope the item will be put on display at Ashford Museum, and perhaps the Ashford International Model Railway Excellence Centre which is being planned for the former Railway Works site.

To find out more about the group, click here.

Click here for more news from Ashford.

Click here for more news from around the county.

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