Leeds nostalgia: Storm that blew up Leeds

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June 30 1945 was a momentous day. Japan was put under the dictatorship of its 77-year-old wartime premier General Suzuki, who under the Wartime Emergency Measures Act, was given permission to rule by decree.

The US proposed to loan Britain $750,000 to help it balance the books and Russia took over part of Ukraine, that being an area known as Ruthenia, or the Sub-Carpathian Ukraine, which, until 1919, had been Hungarian for more than 1,000 years but which was signed over to Czecholsovakia after the First World War and was handed back to Hungary by Hitler in 1939.

Meanwhile, in Leeds, people were contending with the aftermath of a rather violent thunderstorm, which in one case at least, led to the explosion of a fireplace.

Numerous houses were struck and damaged by lightning, including ones in Neville Place, Wykebeck Road and Accommodation Road. Telephone wires were damaged in Aysgarth Road and a chimney caught fire in Beeston Hill. A tram was also disabled by lightning on Cookridge Street.

The most dramatic incident happened in Neville Place, where Private Albert Smithson, on home on leave, reported: “I was in the back room when I saw a flash and heard what sounded like an explosion. A fireplace was blown out of the bedroom and electric fittings were damaged.”

Neighbour Mrs Plews, whose house was also affected, said: “On my return I found the place upset by soot and rubble. The wireless and electric clock were put out of order.”

Others also reported damage to rooves and gas pipes being hit and one couple in Accommodation Road said bathroom tiles were sent flying across the room following a lightning strike on their house.

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