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Church bells will ring out to remember two men who died in a massive World War Two explosion while trying to save a town from destruction 75 years ago.
A train carrying bombs caught fire while travelling through Soham in Cambridgeshire, on 2 June 1944.
Driver Benjamin Gimbert and fireman James Nightall attempted to drive it out of town when it exploded, killing Nighthall and signalman Frank Bridges.
A memorial service will be held in the town's church later.
Image copyrightTHE CAMBRIDGESHIRE COLLECTIONImage captionAmateur photographer W Martin Lane heard the explosion in nearby Ely and rushed over by taxi to take the first photographs of its aftermath
Image copyrightTHE CAMBRIDGESHIRE COLLECTIONImage captionHe then hitch-hiked to Fleet Street and gave his photos to the Daily Express in return for new film for his cameraMr Gimbert was "fearfully maimed" but survived the incident which took place at about midnight, according to Cambridgeshire historian Mike Petty.
He explained they uncoupled the blazing munitions wagon from the rest in a bid to drive it out of town.
Mr Petty said if it had exploded closer to Soham - a town with a current population of about 10,000 - "there would be no Soham".
The explosion destroyed houses and left "scores of families homeless".
Image copyrightTHE CAMBRIDGESHIRE COLLECTIONImage captionThe disaster happened days before D-Day, so it was imperative the line was repaired as fast as possible, historian Mike Petty said
Image copyrightTHE CAMBRIDGESHIRE COLLECTIONImage captionThe railway station was well-used before the disasterKay Sinclair, whose father was an off-duty firefighter who went to help, said: "He was told to crawl into the crater in which the train was lying and retrieve the body of James Nightall.
"He also had to check the other munitions wagons as there was a fear they'd explode."
June Stittle, 87, was aged 12 at the time.
"There was this horrific bang and we were waiting for the next one as we thought it was bombs," she said.
"The ceiling had fallen down on us and the windows had all come in, while the bed was covered in rubble and glass."
Image copyrightCAMBRIDGESHIRE COLLECTIONImage captionThe explosion was widely reported but its location was not revealed due to wartime censorshipShe said the flying squad arrived the next day - a group of men tasked with travelling the country to patch up bomb-damaged homes.
They stayed on for months, repairing houses.
Donna Martin, from Soham Museum, said a layer of debris was scattered over the town - which is still being uncovered when people work in their gardens.
Mr Gimbert and Mr Nightall both received the George Cross for their efforts.
This article first appeared on www.bbc.com
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