2. Rescue

Surveying the damage. Image courtesy of West Sussex County Council Library Service. (34kb)

throughout the war, sainsbury's branch staff were kept up to date with bulletins from head office. this is how the stores learnt of the tragedy at east grinstead
Bulletin issued to Sainsbury's branches on 13 July, 1943. (77kb)

each christmas, sainsbury's staff serving in the armed forces and on national service received a small gift from the company, together with news from the home front. this extract describes the events at east grinstead.
Letter to members of staff on national service, October 1943. (68kb)

this roll of honour was published by sainsbury's to commemorate the 310 employees who lost their lives as a result of enemy activity, including civilian casualties.
Roll of Honour issued by J.Sainsbury Ltd in 1945. (23kb)

By the time the emergency services arrived many buildings including the cinema were burning furiously.

The Civil Defence and Heavy Rescue teams together with servicemen and civilians began to dig away at the rubble in the hope of finding survivors.

Laurie lay buried under the rear of the shop. Although badly damaged, this part of the building remained standing.

The final casualties numbered 108 killed and 235 injured, one of the highest civilian losses in the country.


1. Laurie Holmes' description of being trapped in the rubble. (580 Kb) 47secs.

2. Laurie describes being pulled out of the ruins. (737 Kb) 1min.

3. His desciption of being in hospital. (460 Kb) 47secs.

4. Loss of life. (603 Kb) 1min 02secs.

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Transcripts of the above (.doc format):

1. 2. 3. 4.