Bodiam Bridge Accident 1947

An article in ‘The Times’ dated 13 September, 1947 reported that a lorry carrying hop-pickers fell from ‘the narrow bridge at Bodiam, into the River Rother about 10ft. below.’ 14 people were taken to hospital, some with serious injuries. Some were rescued by German POWs who were working in the adjoining field.

A photograph in the 'Evening Standard' shows the Bodiam Bridge with its distinctive arches. Apparently the bridge was undergoing major repairs at the time, and whatever walls had existed must have been removed, and temporary metal railings were put in their place. These railings seem to be made out of scaffolding poles or something of that nature, and the lorry can be seen on its side in the river.

The following is the text of the Evening Standard article of 13 September, 1947, which appeared with a photo of the crashed lorry lying on its side in the river beside the bridge.

Thank you Germans

Hop-pickers – many of them women from those parts of East London which suffered most in Hitler’s blitz – are today talking of raising a fund for German prisoners of war.

Object of the fund: to say “thank you” to four Germans for the way they went to the rescue of hop-pickers who were thrown into the River Rother when the lorry in which they were riding crashed into the parapet and toppled over a bridge at Bodiam, near Hastings, last night.

Grand Job’

Said one of the hop-pickers today: “The Germans did a grand job. They waded into the water to help people out and gave their own dry clothes to the injured. They also helped the police raise the lorry to free a man who was pinned under it. So we’d just like to show that English gratitude means something.”

Does anyone remember this incident or have any further information on it? If so, please get in contact with me.