The Stadtkirche before the fateful 1st October 1959.
This picture shows the relative positions of the main Jever Town Churches. It was the Protestant Church which burnt down. Note the distance of the Protestant Church spire from the main church. Marcus tells us that that is a perfectly normal configuration and not - as some people think- as a result of the fire. Clive Roberts adds that the summer of 1959 was very hot in Germany and here at home, and not only did Jever church burn down, a very sad loss as it was constructed mainly of wood, and had a beautifully carved interior, but also one of the Churches on Camp burned down, they also were constructed mainly of wood, being old wooden barrack huts, of the type we experienced at Square Bashing.
In the book about the "Jeverland" it is said that the "Stadtkirche" burnt down on October, 1st 1959. It was a Thursday with lovely weather conditions. During refurbishment of the roof a worker threw away a fag heedlessly. The fresh painted wooden construction caught fire immediately.
At 16.15 hrs the fire was detected. About half an hour later the roof truss collapsed. The valuably organ and also the baroque-styled and hand-carved pulpit were completely destroyed.
More than 100 fire fighters from Jever, the surrounding villages and the RAF tried to extinguish the disastrous fire although with little success.
But there was a reasonable one: Thanks to the unresting effort the "Edo-Wiemken"-Memorial was saved. The fire fighters were confronted with a lot of technical problems. Due to the large amount of water taken from the hydrants the pressure fell down extremely. So they had to pump more water from the ponds which surround the inner town circle.
By the way: You might have detected that the big spire is about 20m away from the church building. This was quite common to build the spire next to the nave (e.g. Cleverns, Schortens etc.) This is not a result of the fire as so often assumed.
That's all I know. The help of the RAF was always thankfully mentioned but not appreciated in particular. I don't have any information about the state of the equipment the fire fighters had or whether it had been completely out of date or not (but obviously it didn't work sufficiently). I have to rely on the report of the eye witness in the book. This happened 8 years before I was even born, you know. Marcus Christ
Late in the afternoon on the 1st October 1959, aircraft flying overhead from Jever reported that the Jever Town Church was on fire. The Station Commander, Gp Capt Smith
ordered the fire tenders to leave the airfield to assist the hard worked German Fire Service. That was a good decision, although not entirely within regulations since flying was still in progress! Web Master
Below, thanks to Marcus Christ
and his father, is a letter of thanks from Jever Town for the help that RAF Jever gave in fighting the fire. The annotation from Gp Capt I Smith
was presumably added when he passed on the letter to the RAF Fire Department.
On 1st October 1959 Jever Town suffered from the worst fire that the history of the last decades record. It is impossible to speculate on the probable extent of the damage which could have been caused by this had it not been for all the fire brigades who took part in fighting this fire and their unselfish devotion to duty in overcoming terrible danger. You immediately put the Station Fire Brigade at our disposal. The whole population agrees that the members of your fire brigade were outstanding in the performance of their duty and a great deal of credit for having prevented a greater catasrophy goes to them. The Landkreis Friesland send you its most sincere thanks for this and would like to ask you to pass our feelings of appreciation to the Airmen, N.C.O.s
and Officers of your Fire Brigade.
"To this I add my own congratulations. I Smith