IT was just three years ago a handful of people heard a story which captured the imagination of a whole community.

The story was about how a group of brave men saved Slade Green from certain disaster during the Second World War, some earning medals for their efforts, and one giving his life.

A campaign began to raise nearly £3,000 to commission a plaque to commemorate their brave deeds.

Dances and other events were were organised to try and raise the money and a number of organisations, including News Shopper’s parent company Gannett’s charitable foundation, gave donations.

On Saturday, the dream was finally realised when former vicar of Slade Green, the Rev Alan Horton, returned to his old parish to conduct the ceremony.

More than 100 people turned out, many in period costume to see the unveiling.

It contains a vivid account of how the men, all living locally, risked their lives to move railway wagons loaded with munitions, from the fire-ravaged railway sidings after they had been bombed by German planes on April 16 1941.

Protected from the exploding shells by nothing more than metal dustbin lids, they managed move the wagons out of the flames.

One contained naval depth charges which, had they exploded, would have razed the surrounding area of Slade Green to the ground.

Two nephews and a niece of Bobby Jeeves, who won the George Medal for his efforts, were there together with their families.

So were members of the Reardon family whose relative Alf was awarded the British Empire Medal and relatives of Charlie Sayers who helped Mr Jeeves put out the fire.

Also there was John Meekins, curator of the Kent Fire and Rescue Museum in Maidstone.

Following the disaster, one of the men Syd Gallard who was also an amateur artist, produced a painting of the event which is housed in the museum along with several other of Gallard’s wartime fire scenes.

Mr Meekins lend the painting so it could be reproduced on the plaque, plus three others which it is hoped to display in Slade Green library shortly.

Another guest was Bexley’s borough fire commander Cyril O’Brien.

Following the unveiling, there was a minute’s silence and piper Gerry Piggott played a lament.

Then it was off to Slade Green Railway Club for refreshments.

In the evening there was a 1940s dance where the sirens sounded at the exact time of the raid 70 years ago.

The all-clear was sounded after the raffle winners were announced.