17/10/2011 Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire


17/10/2011

Investigating the deaths of two jockeys in an arson attack. Plus, what it is like to be a lifeguard in Bridlington, and footage of WWII Free French bomber squadron missions.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to a new series of Inside Out from Bridlington.

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This week, we investigate whether the deaths of two young jockeys who

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died in a fire at a block of flats in North Yorkshire could have been

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avoided. As the authorities consider

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prosecuting those in charge of the building's fire safety, a mother

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demands answers. My daughter was screaming at the

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window for help. Also tonight, Baywatch. We find out

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just what it takes to become a Bridlington lifeguard. I'm a

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terrible lifeguard! And, French fighters. Exclusive

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wartime footage of the men who fought the Nazis from an air base

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Last year, a man was convicted of the manslaughter of two young

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jockeys after setting fire to a block of flats in North Yorkshire.

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But Inside Out has discovered the local authority is also considering

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legal action against those responsible for the building's fire

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safety. I've been investigating whether the deaths of these two

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young people could have been avoided.

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I want to know how my daughter didn't get out, how was she meant

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to get out? They've cut corners and people have died. My daughter's

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been tortured to death. We should never have been basically

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told that fire safety was satisfactory. It is evident now

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that that was not the case. Just over two years ago, two young

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people died in a horrific fire in this block of flats in Norton.

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Jamie Kyne was just 18 and Jan Wilson was 19 and they were both

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promising young jockeys. Like so many other young people who

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come here with the love of racing to try and learn their craft, the

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two teenagers caught up in this weekend's tragedy were part of a

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close community who lived, worked and socialised together.

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Peter Brown worked as a caretaker at the flats, called Buckrose court.

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He was sent to prison for manslaughter last year after

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starting the fire. I don't know who's done it or

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what's happened, but it was not me. But Inside Out has discovered that

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the North Yorkshire Fire Authority is still investigating what

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happened that night more than two years later. But the question is

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why? I've travelled to Scotland to meet

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Marg wet Rhyl son, whose daughter Jan died at buck rose court. This

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rose is called Haydock parbgs where Jan had her first win for us --

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Haydock Park. I meet Margaret at the local church where together

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with friends and family, she's created a special memorial garden

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for her daughter. I don't really have to go any place to think about

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her. I would say there's no minute of the day that she's not thought

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about. I believe it was about 2.15 in the morning when our pagers went

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off. At that point, you just leg it and get to the fire station as

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quickly as you can. There was a young girl, she was running around

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hysterically as if something had happened and she shouted "fire,

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fire, so I "so I ran down to where it was, I couldn't see any flames

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at the time. Peter Brown started the fire in the stairwell of the

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flats and it went up very quickly, blocking the main means of escape

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for those trapped inside. That's when the flames started to

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get intense and you could see like a big blue flame, obviously a gas

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fire, then the windows started to crack and the frames fell out.

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When we got to the stairwell, there was no doubt in our minds that we

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shouldn't step on to it. It was clearly very, very unsafe. It was

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just smoke and flames. Many of the people living in the

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flats jumped from the windows to escape. Jamie and Jan were both in

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flat 5 on the second floor which was overcome by fire and they never

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made it out. The firefighters who were at the

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scene, we did, to the last man, everything we could have done in

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that terrible situation. As we came round the corner, there was no

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doubt in my mind that if there was anyone in that fire, they were

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already deceased. There was no chance anyone could have survived

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that. The man who deliberately started the fire, Peter Brown, was

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sent to prison last year for the manslaughter of Jan and Jamie, but

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for Marg rets Wilson, that's by no means the end of the matter --

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Margaret Wilson. I think that shrub mystery fire is

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very well named. We are now two years this weekend and I still

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haven't got a lot of questions answered about that night.

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Margaret contacted me after she discovered that the North Yorkshire

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Fire Authority were still investigating the Norton fire. It

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seemed that the building, which had been converted to flats three years

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earlier, may not have complied with fire safety regulations.

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People have not done things for the safety of that building. I think

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they're worse than Peter Brown because they're worse than him.

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So we decided to ask the North Yorkshire Fire Authority what was

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going on. We sent a Freedom of Information request about the fire

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at buck rose court and what we discovered made shocking reading --

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buck rose court. In this letter from North Yorkshire building

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control to the approved inspector at buck rose court, they say the

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building has "deviations" from fire safety guidance. Before a block of

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flats can be occupied the owners need to obtain what is called a

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final certificate confirming that it complies with safety legislation.

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JHA innovation issued the certificate but without consulting

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the Fire Authority which they are legally obliged to do. We asked a

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fire safety expert how serious this breach was. I would say that was a

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significant omission on the part of the approved inspector. One might

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reasonably argue that the Fire Service would certainly not have

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overlooked the facilities for firefighting. So what were the

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issues for the firefighting facilitys? Well, firstly the

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building had no access for emergency vehicles and was near Le

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double the recommended distance from the nearest road.

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I'm surprised the approved inspector who dealt with the

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approval under the building regulations didn't require

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compensatory measures for the distance between the fire appliance

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and the block. You could think about putting in a sprinkler system

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or install a dry rising main. A dry pipe could obtain water at any

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landing level within the flats. JHAI told the BBC that their

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sympathies were with the families of those who died and they would

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always accepted they made an error in not consultlinging the Fire

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Authority. However, they said the approved design did comply with

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building regulations and pointed out that it was a deliberate act of

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arson that caused the fire. Howard Keal was on the planning committee

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which passed the plans. He's very concerned that the issue was not

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explored thoroughly enough at the time. If those issues had been

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identified when this came to the committee, then there is no

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question in my mind whatsoever that those would have been made

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conditions and requirements of any approval. Those issues were not

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brought to the attention of the committee. Of greater concern from

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Jan and Jamie's point of view were the problems inside the building.

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All the doors to the flats were fire resistent and supposed to be

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self-closing, but the door to flat 5 was faulty and remained open,

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engulfing the flat in flames and smoke. With the self-closing doors,

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how significant would you say it is that it didn't work? A very major

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factor I would have expected in the circumstances of the fire and the

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deaths that occurred. The occupants of the flat would have been safe

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for a prolonged period of time because the door was designed to be

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a fire resisting door, able to withstand fire for 30 minutes or

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more. The fire investigation report

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mentions what it calls "combustible materials" being stored in the

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stairwell. These turned out to be kitchen unit carcasses which were

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piled up at the bottom of the stairs. It's that kind of materials

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that the Fire Brigade use to demonstrate how quickly a fire can

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develop. Basically, within two minutes of them see setting the

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units on fire, there was a really well developed fire.

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It was similar material that it was in the stairwell, I can fully

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understand why the fire developed so quickly.

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That's a significant contravention of fire safety legislation. The

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fire itself arguably could have been prevented had there not been

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combustible materials within the stairwell and if there was no fire,

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then clearly there would have been no fatalities. We wrote to Alan who

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represents the companies who own and manage the building. He told us

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he is working closely with the Fire Authority but that as legal

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prosealedings are pending, it would be inappropriate to comment further

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at this time -- legal proceedings. It's been more than two years since

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Jamie and Jan died at buck rose court and their families are still

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awaiting the Fire Authority's decision whether any further action

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will be taken. I want to know how my daughter didn't get out, how was

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she meant to get out of that flat? My daughter was screaming at the

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window for help and it's the only way I can help her now, is to, you

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know, stop this happening to somebody else. If there's anybody

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the blame, they need sorting out. Buck rose court has been renovated

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but remains empty and under a prohibition notice from the Fire

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Authority who say they're carrying out an investigation which could

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result in criminal proceedings -- buck rose.

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Coming up: Little front: The French airmen who flew sorties against

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Nazi Germany from a Yorkshire airfield.

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Every year, millions of us visit the seaside and here in Bridlington,

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they have a team of dedicated lifeguards who work throughout the

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summer to keep us all safe. We sent Keeley Donovan to find out just

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what it takes to become a lifeguard. Here come the lifeguards. Keeping

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us safe when we are on the beach or out at sea. On the East Coast,

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they've dealt with more than 400 incidents this summer.

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I'm not the world's greatest swimmer, but I've been given the

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chance to train as a lifeguard. Let's see if I've got what it takes.

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I'm in Bridlington, one of our biggest beaches. When the sun

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shines, this place is packed and help is always at hand. I'm joining

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the lifeguards who spend the summer making sure holiday-makers stay

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safe and sound. Helen Peterson and Ryan Hepworth are lifeguards on

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Bridlington's south beach, which stretchs from the harbour, all the

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way south to FraisThorpe. What is a typical day for you? We are here

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10-6 all day, preventing accidents before they happen and making sure

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everyone is safe and having a fun day. What is in store for me?

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going to teach you how we enter the water, approach the casualty, bring

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them back into shore and carry them. We are going to teach you a lift

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that we use. I've got the gear. Let's get

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started. Now I'm beginning to look like a lifeguard, time for some

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training. We are going to teach you how to do an unconscious tube

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rescue. This is the rescue tube that all the lifeguards carry. If

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you want to have a feel of it, it's nice and light. That gives the

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buoyancy to the casualty. We have a rope here. Pull on here and throw

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the thing behind it. When we are ready to go, we can put it on our

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shoulder, drag it behind us, then we are ready to reach the casualty.

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It's getting tougher. Another lifeguard, Jen Robinson, is

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pretending to be a swimmer who needs help.

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Swing your bum in. Here you go. Ready, steady, walk. Down to one

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knee. Lower. That's it. If you take her hands. You will Ned to take all

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her weight. As we lower her -- that's it. Fantastic. It's

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strenuous. I don't know how I'm going to do that in the water. I

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need to get into the water and there's a special way of dog this,

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right? We do a thing called chicken legs which is how we run into the

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water without catching our feet on the water and tripping over

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basically. OK. I'll do a very quick demonstration to start with. It's

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really just running but keeping your knees high, so run along, lift

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the knees out the water like so. Here goes. This is the fastest way

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to run across shallow water, it just looks a little silly. On the

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beach, even in shallow water, conditions can be deceptive.

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Let these guys know that the safest places to swim are between the red

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flags. Most incidents are painful but routine. This girl's sprained

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her ankle. A boy's cut his finger on a piece of glass. This little

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boy needs to be brought back after drifting out to sea.

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Make sure you stay between the red and yellow flags and try not to go

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that far out. If you can't touch the floor, come back in towards the

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beach. Back to the training and I have a confession. I've never swum

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in the North Sea before, but now I've got to dive in. You have done

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your chicken legs at knee depth, then you will use the dolphin dives

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to get you through the next part of water until you get to a point

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where you can swim. Does the head go under the water? Yes. You are

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jumping off the side, diving through the wave, hitting the sand

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again, your hands are in front so that hits the ground first, then

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pull on the ground to bring your legs through ready to push up for

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the next one. Ryan shows me how it should be done. It's not as - easy

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as it looks. Do you want to do this together. Breathe through your nose.

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Ready? Yes. We are off. I don't know about Helen and Ryan, but I'm

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Dolphin dives, but that was more like a belly flop!

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We have done the training and I've been in the water, now I'm going to

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try and rescue someone. Can you hear me? Jen is pretending to be a

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holiday-maker in trouble. It's up to me to help her. I'm checking

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whether she's breathing and she is. So now I'm going to try and swim

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her back to shore. Now comes the final task to get the casualty out

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of the water. We've got to pick her up and try not to drop her. We are

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spreading the weight on both our shoulders. It takes balance and a

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fair bit of strength. Down to one knee. Lower. It was my

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first attempt! I think I need a little more practise. I'm a

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terrible lifeguard! So how do you think I did? Could I

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be a potential lifeguard? You've grasped the basics quickly. You

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need to work on your dolphin diving a little more and it obviously

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takes a lot of training to get your fitness up. If you are prepared to

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put in the hours on your fitness, you never know. A diplomatic

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answer! Everyone gets worried when a child

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might have gone into the sea. Today, there's an alert on the beach. A

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seven-year-old girl's gone missing. As a search begins, lifeguard Jen

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joins the girl's father on the beach.

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This gentleman's lost his little girl, so we have got all the

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lifeguards out looking for them, someone on the quad bike, someone

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in the patrol zone looking for her, someone doing base obs and we are

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going to wander on the sand, see if we can find her. The father is

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getting concerned. It's 15 minutes since he last saw her. We seem to

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have searched the majority of the water. So I reckon getting the

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police involved is a good idea, over. Running toward the water last

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time you saw her? She's been missing half an hour and the search

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intensifies. I'm with the faur by the Spa with some of the police

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officers -- father. Waiting for the coastguard, then they're going to

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organise a proper search along the beach. Over. The father thinks he

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might have spotted her. But it turns out to be a false alarm. Jen

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gets some new information from the missing girl's brother and it

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sounds worrying. The little boy, his son, was the

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last person to be with the missing child and his dad said, was she in

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the water and he said yes and he said what happened to her and his

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response, because he's only four was, she disappeared like magic, so

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I don't know whether she's gone into the sea.

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It's an hour since the missing girl disappeared. Everyone's getting

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increasingly concerned. It's a huge beach and crowded with people, but

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so far, the seven-year-old seems to have vanished without a trace.

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Finally, after two hours, it sounds like good news. As you look at the

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beach, as far as you can see, Fraisthorpe beach, the child was

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found by a farmer up there. They contacted the coastguard, they've

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just got down there and confirmed that it was the missing child, so

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they're sending the parents down now. Thankfully, this time, there's

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a happy ending. For all of us, it's been another busy day at the

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seaside. More than 65 years ago, thousands

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of bombing raids were launched against Nazi Germany from an

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airstrip outside of York. But what makes this story different is that

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it wasn't the RAF but two squadrons of French airmen. Lucy Hester has

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unearthed some footage of the men, never been seen before.

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Europe 1940 and the full force of the German third Reich is unleashed.

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It faces overwhelming fire power. Within weeks Paris has fallen and

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France surrenders. The world held its breath as the allies teetered

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on the brink of catastrophe, but out of the chaos, some French

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forces made it to England. 2,500 of them took the fight back to Germany

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from right here at Elvington. Elvington had been home to an RAF

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bomber squadron, but when they moved out, the French moved in. It

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became known as La Petite France. This bit of Yorkshire became a

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central part of the campaign to Elvington is now home to the

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Yorkshire air museum, but towards the end of the Second World War,

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two French squadrons of Halifax bombers were based here. They

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launched wave after wave of attacks against the German military machine.

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It It meant that they were able to fight back for really the first

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time since the Germans had invaded France. It's been said that bomber

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command didn't win the war, but without bomber command, the war

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wouldn't have been won. I suppose the missions that they had to

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undertake meant that the French bomber squadrons were actually

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bombing their own country? Yes. One of the very first missions by the

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squadron was to bomb the gunning placements on the Normandy beach

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head. They wouldn't know why they were doing that. They knew the

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target was in France, which must have been quite significant for

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them being one of their first missions.-Lucian Mallia was a

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Halifax rear gunner and he remembers the night the German

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fighters took their revenge. were shot down by German fighters.

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They sneaked into England in the midst of a group of bombers. As we

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couldn't see each other at night, to avoid the radars, they returned

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with us. On each air base, there were two

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German fighters and each time we tried to land, they machine gunned

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us. We were shot down like that. So we suffered two fighter attacks and

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there we caught fire and crashed. The plane on fire. That's my

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recollection. By the time of the D-Day landings

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in 1944, the French airmen and their crew were a common sight in

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York. Here at Betty's tearoom, the men scratched their names in the

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mirror. For some girls, a French man in uniform was very difficult

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to resist. Many a young woman fell for Gallic

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charm, swept off their feet but a handsome young man. One of them was

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Freda who was still at school when she met a dashing French aviator.

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How old were you when you met Maurice? 17. He was 27. Maurice was

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a flight engineer on a Halifax bomber. This is his crew. Maurice

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landed in Freda's life when he came to her house to spend Christmas

0:23:560:24:01

with her family. Eventually by about 3 o'clock on Christmas Day, a

0:24:010:24:06

knock on the door. I went and of course I saw this oh, this

0:24:060:24:10

Frenchman standing there in uniform. Oh, the uniform, oh. I just cracked

0:24:110:24:17

at the uniform. We went out and played snowball and one of course

0:24:170:24:23

hit me and then he put one down my neck and that was the first kiss.

0:24:230:24:31

He put snow down my neck. And that started it off.

0:24:310:24:35

Freda and Maurice's relationship continued, but the conflict proved

0:24:350:24:39

a reality check, why get too close when the survival rate for airmen

0:24:390:24:42

was so poor. The attrition rate in these planes

0:24:420:24:47

was terrible. 50% of the French bomber crews never made it home and

0:24:470:24:51

dozens more were captured after being shot down. But despite the

0:24:510:24:56

heavy losses, their determination to take the battle to Germany

0:24:560:25:01

remained undiminished. It was night-time and there was no

0:25:010:25:07

communications between planes. The only thing that they could do was

0:25:070:25:13

hope that the wings did not touch some other wings or something

0:25:130:25:22

wouldn't happen from above. Then started the anti-aircraft guns and

0:25:220:25:26

also the fighters. They were coming back and they were often pursued by

0:25:260:25:32

the fighters. So, of course, this was very dangerous.

0:25:320:25:36

The cinema at Elvington air museum, some extraordinary forgotten

0:25:360:25:41

footage of the French bomber crews who flew from here.

0:25:410:25:44

This film lay undiscovered in an archive for years and has never

0:25:440:25:48

been shown before. Part of the propaganda war by the exiled French

0:25:480:25:52

government, it's the work of a film crew which followed the airmen of

0:25:520:25:56

Elvington into action. It's in French so it's obviously aimed at

0:25:560:26:04

the French public. Lots of politics, I mean we have no experience of

0:26:040:26:09

modern times of our country being occupied by a foreign power. They

0:26:090:26:14

were trying to show that their own people fought to save France and to

0:26:140:26:18

liberate France and sacrificed their lives for the general

0:26:180:26:21

liberation of Europe. I suppose some of the men that we

0:26:210:26:26

see in this film wouldn't have survived the war at all? No. There

0:26:260:26:31

are very few films of this nature actually a day in the life we

0:26:310:26:35

actually go out on the mission and come back with them and a black

0:26:350:26:40

cloud appears and it's an entire aircraft gone in one shot, seven

0:26:400:26:43

crew. Disintegrated in a minute. Those

0:26:430:26:49

were people they probably just had breakfast with. It's not a

0:26:490:26:52

nationalistic thing under any circumstances, it's a job they had

0:26:520:26:54

to do in order to free their country.

0:26:540:27:00

At the end of the war, the French crews left Elvington to flay to

0:27:000:27:04

liberated France, and that ris left too. It seemed that would be the

0:27:040:27:13

end of the row main -- Maurice left too. It seemed that would be the

0:27:130:27:20

end of the romance. I decided to hang on even though my mother said

0:27:200:27:22

there were more pebbles on the beach. From meeting him to being

0:27:220:27:28

married, we waited five years. Freda and Maurice were married for

0:27:280:27:31

the best part of three years, raising three children. Maurice

0:27:310:27:35

died 13 years ago, but for Freda, their marriage proved that in the

0:27:350:27:39

worst of times, good things can happen. Back in Elvington, text

0:27:390:27:44

ploits of the French bomber crews haven't been forgotten -- exploits.

0:27:440:27:48

The top brass of the French and military will make their way to

0:27:480:27:52

York, they will come to mark the day that the French crews left

0:27:520:27:55

Elvington for good. Time has thinned the numbers of foreign

0:27:550:27:59

airmen who were proud to call Elvington their home. A few of the

0:27:590:28:03

survivors will return this week to mark a small chapter of World War

0:28:040:28:07

II history and this piece of Yorkshire -- when this piece of

0:28:070:28:15

Yorkshire became a key part of the battle to liberate France.

0:28:150:28:21

Jamie Coulson investigates the deaths of two young jockeys in a horrific arson attack - and discovers that the local authority is considering prosecuting those in charge of the building's fire safety. He also tries to find out how the building was awarded a final certificate when it did not comply with fire safety legislation. Also, Keeley Donovan finds out what it's like to become a lifeguard in Bridlington, and Lucy Hester unveils extraordinary unseen footage of the Free French bomber squadrons flying dangerous missions out of North Yorkshire during World War II. Their air base near York became to be known as La Petite France.


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