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V1 flying bomb site, Chapel Street, Tottington near Bury
At just before 6 o’clock on the morning of Christmas Eve 1944, 6 people in the village of Tottington were killed when a V1 flying bomb dived into a row of terraced houses. A further 9 people were injured, one of whom died later of injuries.
This photo was taken across the road from the bomb site, upon which there is now this memorial plaque and garden.
British civilians in the Summer of 1944 probably thought that following the Normandy invasion, the horrors of war on the home front (apart from the fear of a telegram) were nearly over. But 3 years after the Blitz, cruise missiles and rockets appeared in the skies, bringing terror without warning. V1’s were pulsejet propelled missiles, usually launched from ramps in Northern France and Holland against London and the South East.
However, on Christmas Eve 1944, 45 Doodlebugs were launched from underneath adapted Heinkel He111 bombers flying over the North Sea, because the launch sites in Europe had been overrun by the Allies. The bombers released the V1s aimed at Manchester, then turned back to base. Many of the missiles landed harmlessly; the worst was at Abbey Hills Road in Oldham, where 27 people were killed.
An unintentional feature of the bomb was that as the timer counted down to the designated moment, the engine would cut and the thing would dive to the ground. People learned to listen to the engine, and knew that when it cut they had just a few seconds to take cover. The Nazis overcame this flaw so that later models went into a powered dive giving no warning at all. But then shortly after that, V2 rockets came tearing out of the stratosphere at 4 times the speed of sound… As newly arriving American servicemen were reminded, Great Britain was a war zone.
Mr Nicholas Conway (50) and Mrs Mary Ann Conway (48). They were at number 19 Chapel Street.
Miss Annie Greenhalgh (75 ). 21 Chapel Street.
Elizabeth Hodgkinson Draper, (about 55). 31 Chapel Street.
Mr James Dyson (52) and Mrs Teresa Dyson, visiting from Bulwell, Nottingham, at 33 Chapel Street.
Miss Mary Conway
Mrs Bertha Greenalgh. (died February 20th 1945)
Mr Dewhurst Greenhalgh
Miss Ethel Riley
Mr Herbert Young
Miss N Hamer
Miss Ellen Barnes
Below; Close up of the Memorial plaque.
Below; Two photos from the Bolton Evening News, Dec 27 1944. The report was censored and does not identify the town to prevent the enemy knowing how well their missile performed.
For an overview of the Christmas V1 attack on Manchester, please see here