Blue plaque unveiled to celebrate Bridlington railway war hero

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A tribute to a World War Two railway hero has been unveiled at one of Northern’s East Yorkshire stations. 

The train operator, alongside the Yorkshire Coast Community Rail Partnership has honoured courageous ticket collector Ernest Barker with a blue plaque.  

Northern and members of the community, including the mayor and deputy major of Bridlington, veterans’ groups, children from nearby primary schools and Yorkshire Coast Community Rail Partnership attended a celebration at Bridlington station, where the tribute was unveiled.

The heroic railway worker saved lives by battling a fire after a bomb hit the station yard close to a train carriage full of ammunition. 

Barker’s brave act was carried out 82 years ago on 11 July 1941, as an unexpected raid by a German bomber caused devastation on nearby Hilderthorpe Road. Five people died as blasts destroyed buildings. 

But, just a few hundred yards away, another bomb was close to causing more carnage. Bridlington railway station yard was also hit – and a fire broke out on a train carriage full of ammunition.  

Barker ran to the scene and fought the blaze as his colleagues worked on the fires nearby and thankfully extinguished it, saving many lives of the people in the nearby buildings. 

He became one of the first people to receive the new George Medal. His story has come to light thanks to the research of local historian Richard Jones.  

Tony Baxter, regional director at Northern said: “We’re so pleased to be able to pay tribute to a local hero and the heritage of Bridlington station. 

“I’d like to thank everyone for attending the event and we are delighted to be a part of this community project.”

Northern has also published a map showing the locations of the other historical sites across its stations – perfect for passengers looking to explore more of the train operator’s network. 

Often hidden in plain sight among the hustle and bustle of the station environment, some blue plaques celebrate railway heritage while others commemorate historical figures and unsung heroes – and there is even one honouring a fictional sleuth.

Image credit: Northern

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