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V1 Flying Bomb crater, nr Buxton
This crater was made by one of the V1 flying bombs launched against Manchester on the morning of Christmas Eve, 1944.
Please see this photo for an overview of the attack.
In 2006 Pat Cunningham interviewed several local people who insisted this missile did not come down on Christmas Eve and can’t have been launched during that attack, stating it must have been earlier in 1944.
However, while it is certainly a V1 site (Peter J C Smith, the authority on this air attack having found one of the bomb’s gyroscopes here in 1987) there is historical evidence to show that an attack earlier than Christmas 1944 can be ruled out.
The first V1 to fall on England was June 13th 1944. That – and all other V1s whether launched from ramps or air launched from beneath Heinkel 1-11s until the Christmas Eve attack – were aimed at London and the south coast.
However in the north of England, air raids were so rare at that time that ARP posts were often unmanned. There was only one air raid alert in 1943 (on the night of August 18th) and none at all throughout 1944. By August 1944 the Ministry of Home Security instructed an easing of all civil defence arrangements outside London and the South-East and by November 1944 the Manchester War Emergency Committee noted the rise in people wanting to return their Anderson and Morrison air raid shelters.
Smith further notes that Christmas 1944 saw the last surge of the Wehrmacht in the Ardennes with an attempt to push back the invading Allies; their initial successes had the Nazi Propaganda Ministry link Ardennes with the V1 attack, referring to “extending our long range weapon bombardment to Manchester in conjunction with our west front attack.”
Peakland Air Crashes – The Central Area, Pat Cunningham, 2006
Luftwaffe over Manchester, Peter J C Smith, 2003
Flying Bombs over the Pennines, Peter J C Smith, 1988