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Then & Now; V1 Flying Bomb Site, Matley near Hyde
The Doodlebug that landed at Westwood Farm at Matley near Hyde destroyed the farm and killed two people.
Farmer Edwin Foulkes’ Mother in law, Mrs Elizabeth Greenwood, was visiting for Christmas. She and her 16 year old grandson, Gordon Foulkes were killed when the missile struck at 06.25 on Christmas Eve 1944. The bomb also killed a number of livestock at the farm.
Mr Foulkes, his wife and daughter Betty all survived the attack but Mr Foulkes lost the desire to farm; on top of the family losses and seeing his home completely destroyed, he returned from hospital to find the remains of his property had been looted in his absence. He built the house above on the site of Westwood Farm.
Betty still lives locally. When I visited the current owners told me that Gordon had planned to stay over at a friend’s house that night, but due to his Gran staying over he had to remain at home.
Pat Cunningham interviewed Betty McKeown (nee Foulkes) in 2005 and adds a postscript which heaps tragedy upon tragedy; Mr Foulkes lived well into old age but, as Mrs McKeown explained, he became unwell in the late 80s so the family doctor was called, who gave him an injection. The doctor was mass murderer Harold Shipman and, Cunningham notes, “…Mr Foulkes was dead before Shipman got back to his car.”
Photo above taken from roughly the same position. The farmhouse was where the red phone box now stands. The missile exploded in a tree at the front of the farmhouse.
Another view of the bombed farmhouse from the local newspaper report of 29th December 1944
For an overview of the Christmas V1 attack on Manchester, please see here
Flying Bombs over the Pennines, Peter J C Smith, 1988.
Peakland air Crashes The North, Pat Cunningham, 2006
Images below from
Hyde Wartime Memories, R Butterworth, A Ehrenfried, S M Walker, 1996
The Ashton Reporter of December 29 1944