CINDERFORD'S "OPERATION LIBERATION"
With its food supply running dangerously low, the life-lines to the town strangled
by heavy snow, Cinderford rose magnificently last night [Thursday] to an appeal
from Mr A. E. Stigwood, which rang out from the stage of the Palace Theatre during
the evening performance.
Throughout the night, with the street lamps burning, by special arrangement with
the authorities, 800 to 1,000 people, women amongst them, were clearing the
roads so that traffic could once more flow, particularly between the railway station
and the local bakeries and from the Littledean and Stem Mills direction. When dawn
came Cinderford streets were once again usable; the roads to the station, to Steam
Mills and to Gloucester were open.
Cinderford was saved at this memorable 'Dunkirk' by its own efforts by a shining
example of team spirit which had been stirred into vigorous action on an
unprecedented scale by two exemplary leaders in Mr Stigwood and Police
Inspector D. M. Wagstaff. Isolated and silent since Tuesday Cinderford sprang back
to life on Friday morning after an epic night of sweat and toil. Traffic moved in the
streets and it was possible to get flour from the station (when it arrived) coke from
the gas-works, meat to the outlying districts and for the milk deliveries to run more
The story reached me in telephone flashes during Thursday night (writes a Dean
Forest Newspaper reporter) This is how some of the news came in:
11.20 p.m. "Station Street and Wesley Road clear."
11.50. "Swan Hotel to Woodville clear"
Midnight. "200 people working in Belle Vue Road."
And so it went on through the night; shovels and spades clanged endlessly
against the hardening snow, pick axes bit their way through to the lower ice as this
massive fatigue party warmed to the task in an operation organised with the
effectiveness and precision of a military campaign, with General H.Q. at Cinderford
Police Station buzzing with efficient organising and directing, Inspector Wagstaff
Reprinted from the 'Dean Forest Mercury' of Friday, March 7, 1947