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V1 site at Radcliffe near Bury
Another site with very few clues remaining to show what happened here on December 24th 1944. One of the 45 Flying Bombs aimed at Manchester landed on a boat builders yard by the side of the canal, and though there was the usual damage – windows blown out across a mile radius of the impact site – fortunately there were no casualties.
Using Peter J C Smith’s 1988 book to trace where these missiles fell in that attack, this one proved difficult. Smith says the missile struck a boat builders yard, ‘Prestolee Activities’, adding that the site is now a scrap yard. I couldn’t find a scrap yard, and wandered around before returning to where my gut told me the missile came down – a community of static caravans and pre-fabricated buildings.
There I spoke with a Mr George Hemmingway (in the photo above), a man in his 80’s who as a schoolboy recalled the Luftwaffe bombing raids on Salford. He told me the land was previously a scrap yard, but had been bought 12 years ago by members of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain such as himself. He showed me around, explaining that the people who lived there had owned travelling fairground rides and some had now retired and settled there. It was as well he was with me as I clicked away at the most likely spots; “Don’t worry,” he said indicating to the homes around “but you’re being watched!”
Smith notes that the V1 severely damaged the main building, on the site of which a smaller building has since been constructed. The only building to fit the bill is the one in the photo above – the bricks do not appear to be 100 year old Accrington Stock, especially when compared with another building on the site which dates from that period. By my reckoning the buzzbomb fell on the land beneath the digger in the photo below, though I could be wrong.
For an overview of the Christmas V1 attack on Manchester, please see here
Details from Flying Bombs Over The Pennines (1988) by Peter J C Smith
EDIT; APRIL 2012
Comment below by charlotte435 who remembers this event deserves to be included here;
“I know exactly where it landed. I stood on the spot the morning after. I was 13 and some of the mud form the canal landed in our school field. I picked up propeganda letters from British POWs that were in the V1. Mr O’ niels yard was indeed damaged. Just a few feet from the canal edge. Lots of us kids were there. The night before, I heared the engine cut out as it dived down. I told my friend, a German POW about it. His name Otto Adler Luftwaffe guy about the v1 He grinned and said. I think you would have liked it to land on your school. TRUE.”
EDIT FEBRUARY 2016
Account from eyewitness Colin Craven.
I visited the site with my sister and grandpa Burton with whom we stayed in Albion St. off Outwood Rd. overnight. We went to check out our house for damage, it was located on Lord St. at the top of Ulundi St.
The bomb had landed on a Duck Pond on the same side as the Radcliffe Secondary Modern School. I was 8 years old and remember the house of my grandpa several miles away shook with the shock. I estimate that the crater was 80 to 100ft across and about 30ft. deep. My uncle who was a special constable and worked at Clifton Chloride (later Exide Battery) in Clifton near Salford docks, told us that the bomb had probably been targeted to hit the Chloride plant which I was to find out later was possibly engaged in production of explosives.
Interesting that at our house(not my grandpaâ€™s) approx. 100-125 yards from the site had zero damage, except a crack, between 2 air gun pellet holes in a kitchen window on the opposite side to the blast, had developed. Yet large tempered glass windows on stores on Blackburn St. about one half to three quarters of a mile away, were shattered inwards. Woolworths store being one of them.