Week in 1935: 30 June – 6 July

30 June – 6 July:

2 July marked the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Thomas More. A service was held at Chelsea Old Church on the Chelsea embankment.

This week was also marked by a spate of unrelated fires throughout Europe. In England two firemen were killed as a wall collapsed on them when they were battling a factory fire in Poplar. The factory was situated in a very confined area crowded with factories and small dwelling houses. It was lucky that the fire did not spread.

In Berlin eight people were killed as an aeroplane crashed into a house. The plane had been performing an experimental flight and crashed through the roof of a one-storey house that belonged to a caretaker and his wife. They had just sat down to their midday meal and were counted among the dead. Several flats in the neighbouring building were gutted as flames engulfed the house that had been drenched in fuel from the freshly filled tank. The reason for the crash was never discovered.

Another mystery concerning a fire occurred this week in Paris. A villa in the suburbs of the city exploded when the owner, a Mme. Sol opened the door. She was buried in the wreckage and died in hospital later that evening. Investigations into the explosion found that the gas had been turned off at the mains and it was thought that a bomb might have been placed in the building. It was then reported that Mme. Sol had sent a message to the local police asking to speak with the commissioner. Local rumours suggested that she had enemies in the district. These rumours were soon hushed when the truth came out. Mme. Sol had killed herself. Terrified by threats made against her and strained by monetary difficulties she had tried to burn down the villa. A blood-stained box of matches was found clenched in her hand. She prepared the fire by pouring petrol into trunks full of clothes and, retreating to the entrance hall, dropped a lighted match down the stairs leading to the basement. Instead of the fire she had expected the fumes of petrol exploded – and that was that.

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