A plaque to commemorate the 23 people who died when Derby’s Rolls Royce
aero-engine works was attacked during the Second World War has been
unveiled at a special memorial service held in the community garden behind
The former Rolls-Royce building on Nightingale Road in Osmaston, was tragically hit
by four bombs in the Luftwaffe air raid on 27 July 1942, killing 23 men, women and
In 2016, the building was the subject of a major £4.4m refurbishment, transforming it
into a managed workspace facility and community hub and managed by Connect
Derby, part of Derby City Council.
The memorial plaque features the names and ages of those who died in the attack 75
years ago, as well as the words “no pain, no grief, no anxious fear can reach our
loved ones remembered here.”
It has been erected following several years of campaigning by the Osmaston
Community Association of Residents (OSCAR), who wanted to commemorate those
who lost their lives as well as remind newcomers to the area of the vital role
Osmaston played in the Second World War. The Nightingale Road aero-engine works
manufactured the world-famous Merlin engines that powered Spitfire and Hurricane
fighters and the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.
The plaque was unveiled in the community garden behind the iconic grade-II listed
building by aircraft historians Peter Kirk and Peter Felix, and dedicated by the Bishop
of Derby, the Rt Rev Dr Alastair Redfern, at the special memorial service attended by
local dignitaries and members of the community.
Amongst those present was Harold Franklin, a survivor of the 1942 air-raid who lost
his mother in the attack.
Speaking at the memorial service, Councillor Baggy Shanker said:
“Although today is about remembering past events, it is also about looking to the
future. There has always been a strong sense of community here in Osmaston; a
community that pulls together and supports each other. As they did following the
events in 1942, they do now in regenerating their own neighbourhood.
“Indeed, it is this community – OSCAR, the residents’ association – that has
campaigned for this memorial and organised today and continues to lead the long-
term future vision for Osmaston, including here, Marble Hall, which has undergone a
£4 million refurbishment to create a vibrant community and business space.
“Many people living on the estate knew nothing of the bombing and with so many new
families moving into Osmaston over the next 10 years, it is important to preserve and
promote the rich industrial heritage of this neighbourhood.”
OSCAR chair Mick Whitehead added:
“Apparently there was already a memorial, a wooden plaque bearing the names of
those who died, but it went missing many years ago. On the 70th anniversary of the
raid, we decided that it was time something else was done. It’s taken five years, but
at last here we are.
“Everything really fell into place with the refurbishment of the office block, one of
Derby’s most recognisable landmarks, into a community building.”
Marble Hall is the latest addition to the Connect Derby managed workspace scheme.
Facilities at Marble Hall now include 42 high specification offices, along with Claude’s
café, operated by YMCA Derbyshire and Little Angels Day Nursery, which caters for 16
two year-olds and 24 three and four year-olds.