Boy has hand blown off - and another ‘saved by prayer book in pocket’ - after Second World War detonator explodes in Leeds... in 1949

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Go back 100 years and medical officers in Leeds were urging cinema-goers to wear masks in a bid to limit the spread of influenza.

The disease began the previous year and quickly spread around the globe - dozens were affected in Leeds.

At Seacroft Hospital, nurses were issued with protective face gauzes. Meanwhile, others were taking it upon themselves to cover up. Some soldiers were seen wearing face masks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported: “Masks have not yet been used in theatres [but] it would be well if the Medical Officers advice were taken and the wearing of some protective gauze adopted....”

In other news, whisky makers pushed back against Government plans to increase supplies of the spirit by 50 per cent. An article at the time noted: “the real reason for their attitude is that they are making quite enough profit as matters stand.”

Finally, five children were injured, including two severely, in a terrible accident at Wakefield. Just before 5pm, a number of children near St Austin’s Catholic School in Teal Street, discovered a shell detonator, which fell on the floor and exploded “with a terrific report”.

Patrick Steele, 11, of New Street, had his right hand blown off and sustained severe injuries to his body, while George Marshall, 11, from Wauchope Street, sustained severe injuries to his stomach and both hands. James Marsh, 11, was injured on the left wrist and both legs. Mary Finnerty, 11, was injured on the right knee and hand and both legs. The “sufferers” were taken to Clayton Hospital. Steele and Marshall were not expected to live. One boy, Charlesworth, had a miraculous escape - he was saved by a prayer book in his pocket, which was “mutilated”, saving him from severe groin injuries. His mother, removing his clothes, found the finger and top part of the thumb of one of the other victims.