William James Lemon

R.U.C. Constable William James "Pete" Lemon was one of five young constables who died on 5th May 1941 when the police barracks took a direct hit from a bomb.


William James "Pete" Lemon

Constable William James Lemon was a fatal casualty of the Belfast Blitz during the Second World War. Known as Pete, he lived with his parents Thomas James Lemon and Isabella Lemon at Blaris Road, Lisburn, Co. Antrim at the time of the Luftwaffe attack on the city.

William James Lemon died on 5th May 1941 aged 20 years old at the Royal Ulster Constabulary Barracks, Glenravel Street, Belfast. A total of four other members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary died as a result of the direct hit from a High Explosive Bomb. The explosion came before 0220hrs causing the complete demolition of the Barracks.

In ‘Belfast Blitz: The City in the War Years by Professor Brian Barton, an interview with Hugh Ross – a survivor of the Glenravel Street bombing – tells of the attack and the death of his colleague William James “Pete” Lemon.

After a time, the station was hit by a bomb and the building collapsed over the tables. Pete Lemon spoke and said to me: "We are all badly trapped. We will hardly get out alive." Shortly after that, another bomb landed close by and we were covered with more rubble and I remember getting a mouthful of dirty, limey water apparently coming from a huge water tank at the rear of the station. I was able to speak to Pete but he never replied. I could hear some of my comrades' voices shouting but that only lasted for a minute or so and that is when I thought we all might die. I must have panicked at that stage as I thought I was in a deep valley with water and that I was going to drown. We were all dug out some time later, I don't know how long it took. I was treated in the Mater Hospital.

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