V1 Flying Bomb site, Didsbury

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V1 Flying Bomb site, Didsbury

I am grateful to Paul Hodgins for advising of his research which has led to me changing my record of the site of the Didsbury V1.

Many thanks also to Maurice and Leanne at Didsbury Golf Club for enabling me to visit and photograph the site, and to Greenskeeper Stewart who drove me across the golf course in his cart – the first time I have ever been chauffeur driven to one of these places!


Of the 45 air launched Luftwaffe V1 Flying Bombs which were aimed at Manchester on the morning of Christmas Eve, 1944, only one actually made it to the Manchester Civil Defence Area and that was the one which fell here.

Click here for a summary of the V1 attack on Manchester on Christmas Eve 1944, links to other locations where the V1s fell and more about V1 Flying Bombs. 42 people were killed in this attack and another 109 injured.


The lead photo above replaces one which recorded the Didsbury V1 as coming down close to the rugby fields at the bottom of Millgate Lane at about grid reference SJ 8401 8949 on the other side of the M60 and the Mersey. The actual site is now on the south side of the River Mersey.

Back in 1944 this was not a lake but a field of Brussels sprouts. No one was injured or killed when this particular missile fell, though there was some damage to properties in Didsbury, Burnage and Northenden.

The reason the original location was determined by Peter Smith (Flying Bombs Over The Pennines, 1988) as being the other side of the river may be because it was recorded that the bomb site was on the north bank, which it was. But the north bank of the Mersey at Didsbury was moved with creation of flood defences which slightly altered the course of the Mersey, diverting it by over 200 metres to the north east. The field the V1 was at first believed to have come down in is now part of Didsbury Flood Storage Basin while the V1 site is now south of the river.

Paul Hodgins had long believed this lake to be the location after being told the story by his mother who recalls seeing the V1 in its last moments.

But only after period maps were discovered and made public in December 2012 which show the location, date and type of every bomb to fall on Manchester, was he able to confirm the spot as being in the middle of what is now Loonts Lake on the edge of Didsbury Golf Club.

Below; Part of the bomb map for Northenden. X marks the spot. The note in red ink gives the date and details Crater 22′ 0″ Diam. 5′ 0″ deep. See link below to view all maps at the library.


The red circles on the left record where incendiary bombs fell on 10/10/40 on what was Rose Hill Convalescent Home which has since been converted into flats with new houses in the grounds around the top end of Bronington Close. The air raids on the night of 10 – 11 October 1940 killed people in Moston and Hulme and in Northenden at 31 Royle Green Avenue, Annie Austin was killed and next door at number 29, Maud Bardsley Wyatt was injured in that attack (Smith, Luftwaffe over Manchester, 2003)

Below; Google mapping image showing the same area now, the southern end of Didsbury Golf Club bordering Loonts Lake on one side, the M60 on the other.


Paul overlaid contemporary maps onto the old maps to prove the point. I did my own using the railway tracks at Northenden Junction and the Longley Lane bridge over the tracks as reference points, layering the old bomb map over a scaled Google map.

Below; My map showing the bomb map overlaid on a Google map. The number 1 indicates the spot previously identified as the place the V1 came down. The number 2 on the map shows the position from which I took the lead photo which was previously the southern bank of the River Mersey. Note also the course of the River Mersey on the bomb map and how the continuation of its course to the right of what is now Loonts Lake can clearly be seen on the satellite image.


Paul Hodgins’ mother lives still at Weston Grove, Northenden. He writes, “She was awoken by the sound of the engine in the distance and looked out of her window to see it fly down the street, engine running! She thinks the engine may have stopped just past the street.”

Meanwhile Peter Smith recorded interviews with a couple of people who say the missile turned to the right and away from Wythenshawe over Gatley or Sharston (though he also cites one person in Stockport who said the V1 was overhead when the engine cut some 3 miles from the impact point…)

V1s certainly did turn or spiral down as the fuel ran out, making it difficult to accurately track the course of the missile from witness accounts. But rather than just turning to the right it is possible the V1 made a u-turn over Wythenshawe Park, hence was seen heading south east by Paul’s mother.

Either way, and taking into account that memories of events are affected over the years by what we see and hear to create a version of the memory, the account told to Paul Hodgins by his mother set him looking at the course of the V1 and leading him to conclude the impact point was to the south west of where it had previously been believed to be. Given he was spot on, his mother’s account certainly has some validity!

Below; Approximate spot the V1 came down.


Below; Shrapnel fragment of a V1 Flying Bomb at a crater on Howden Moor; another of the V1s which fell without causing harm on December 24 1944.


University of Manchester Library bomb maps

Didsbury Golf Club

16 comments on “V1 Flying Bomb site, Didsbury
  1. Jeff Salisbury says:

    Great detail Ian. I like the maps.

  2. PC says:

    Great work mate. It’s amazing that the people that live here still don’t talk about what happened, it should be taught in the local schools. It would probably be harder to recruit soldiers for the next war if the people knew how much it costs the poor of Manchester and enriches the elites.

  3. Chris Hunt says:

    Lovely to hear of your research Paul . Get in touch my old mate .Chris

  4. Chris Lucas says:

    I was five years old.My grandfather was working at the Shirley Institute and my grandmother. my mother, and some of my aunts were in the air raid shelter at 61 Kingston Road with me when the V.1.went over and exploded in a field near the river Mersey.

  5. Mike S says:

    I was 11 years old & lived at 230 Parrs Wood Road South – now 476 Parrs Wood Road. I was awakened in the early hours of Xmas Eve 1944 when I heard a flying bomb cut out what seemed immediately above me. I then heard a terrific explosion some seconds later. The next day I went to investigate & found that very little damage had been done because the bomb had landed in the middle of a field.

  6. John Furniss says:

    1944 aged 4 I lived in Northenden near the Forum cinema . I was recovering from measles and quite sleepless I got out of my bed to look out the bedroom window a direction towards Sale.I saw what I thought was a motorbike in the sky put- put- it had a flame coming out of the rear.Suddenly the motor cut out there was a whoosh then an explosion and then perhaps a second or so later but not immediately our front door and window frames rattled.At this my mother ran into the room in quite a state I was quite unnerved.

    • Ian D B says:

      Blimey, what a thing to wake up to! Thanks for sharing John. Bet you forgot about your measles for a short while.

  7. DG Smith says:

    FAO Ian. Just discovered this site, fascinating to say the least. Thanks for you efforts.
    I just read the comment from John Furniss and it reminded me of something I was told recently. I was telling a friend of mine about the Didsbury V1 and he reckons there was another that landed along the stretch of Altrincham road round about where the Paxo stuffing factory was. The crater was dug out when the motorway was built. I can’t find any evidence for this but John Furniss’s sighting seems to me to support it given his location. Can anyone shed any light on this?

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi thanks for your comment. Pretty sure there wasn’t another previously unaccounted for V1 but there was possibly a bomb that fell at that location. You could check out the contemporary bomb maps which recorded every bomb that fell on Manchester here;

  8. Peter Sharman says:

    At the time of this V1attack I lived at 58 Woodhouse Lane, Benchill, Manchester 22, barely 1 1/2 miles from the crash site on Didsbury Golf course. I was aged 7 at the time that the rocket exploded on 24/12/1944 and was awakened by the explosion at about 5.30 a.m. At the time I do not remember any discussion about the explosion either in the family or locally. It is only in recent years that the reason for the event that I had never forgotten.

  9. Paddy says:

    We lived in Atwood Rd
    I bomb dropped very near they we trying to get the railway line?

  10. Denise says:

    Hough End was also bombed, i saw a photo of the aftermath in which a friend’s mother and her family were made homeless..theirs was an end of terrace house and the only one to be hit.

  11. Margaret Matthias, nee Wiseman says:

    Your research and the resulting comments are of particular interest to me. I currently live in Oregon in the United States but have memories of my mother sharing her experiences of World War 11. I was born in December of 1939 while my family (William and Ruby Wiseman and my older sister June) were living in a terraced home in Didsbury, Manchester. Apparently.in response to the siren alert my mother, carrying me and with my seven year old sister in hand, ran to the closest Anderson shelter. I’m told, though our home was not bombed directly, it was so shaken it was deemed unsafe for our return. we were subsequently evacuated.
    My memories of the story are that the bombing was probably part of the
    Christmas bombing of 1940. The story seemed to suggest that the bomb didn’t detonate but the suction of the bomb falling into the ground pulled part of the shelter out of the ground.
    So, all of this is part of our family lore. Furthermore, mum suggested that a picture of her holding the baby as they both sat In the shelter actually appeared in some newspaper.
    I wish I could tell you our address at the time,but that much detail lost to me by now.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Margaret,
      Thank you for sharing those memories. I have just been looking at some old bomb maps of Manchester (see here). Without knowing where in Didsbury you lived, it’d be hard to determine where and when the air raid you refer to happened but you might want to take a look? If you do look on that page, the map for Didsbury is referenced 111 pt 11. The page has not been maintained much and you might have to click on an image of a map a few times to get it to open.
      Best wishes,

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