Map showing Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery sites around Manchester

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Map showing Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery sites around Manchester

Most of the information here is from Pastscape, but I have brought the details of every WWII heavy anti-aircraft battery site around Manchester (to my knowledge) together on one single map for anyone who might be interested in this sort of thing.

Google map links (just zoom in or out) and Ordnance Survey Grid References below.

I don’t know what, if anything, is remaining at these sites. Many now have been built on but some may show visible traces on the ground.

Link the number on the map to the detail below. They are not arranged in any particular order.

1.Prestwich. Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H9. Grid ref SD 817 040,-2.277716&a…

2.Whitefield, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H9. Grid ref SD 801 053,-2.30174&am…

3.Ringway, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H12, Grid ref SJ 820 826,-2.271257&a…

4.Levenshulme, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H18, Grid ref SJ 862 942,-2.209647&a…

5.Cheetham Hill, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery C, Grid ref SD 848 003,-2.230525&a…

6.Cheetham Hill, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H16, Grid ref SD 851 006,-2.225973&a…

7.Chorlton cum Hardy, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H10, Grid ref SJ 809 937,-2.288949&am…

8.Heaton Park, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H15, Grid ref SD 834 037,-2.251725&am…

9.Chorlton cum Hardy, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H14, Grid ref SJ 831 934,-2.256317&am…

10.Levenshulme, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H21, Grid ref SJ 885 948,-2.175336&a…

11.Levenshulme, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H21, Grid ref 888 948,-2.169124&a…

12.Moston, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H20, Grid ref SD 880 024,-2.182277&a…

13.Baguley, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H11, Grid ref SJ 808 900,-2.289534&a…

14.Rusholme, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H18, Grid ref SJ 858 948,-2.215033&am…

15.Failsworth, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H22, Grid ref SD 890 015,-2.166356&a…

16.Middleton, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H17, Grid ref SD 859 055,-2.213702&a…

17.Barton, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H1, Grid ref SJ 747 979,-2.382449&a…

18.Barton Moss, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H4, Grid ref SJ 736 984,-2.395535&a…

19.Eccles, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H7, Grid ref SJ 778 999,-2.336043&a…

20.Eccles, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H4, Grid ref SJ 753 993,-2.373744&a…

21.Salford, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H13, Grid ref SJ 821 993,-2.268913&a…

22.Salford, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H8, Grid ref SD 801 011,-2.30155&am…

23.Walkden, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H3, Grid ref SD 748 022,-2.381544&a…

24.Bredbury, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H26, Grid ref SJ 929 921,-2.10813&am…

25.Heaton Norris, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H19, Grid ref SJ 879 910,-2.183385&a…

26.Littlemoss, Anti-Aircraft Battery H24, Grid ref 915 001,-2.129658&a…

27.Audenshaw, Anti-Aircraft Battery H23, Grid ref SJ 913 977,-2.132624&a…

28.Denton, Anti-Aircraft Battery H25, Grid ref SJ 922 964,-2.118782&a…

29.Carrington Moss, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H5, Grid ref SJ 756 927,-2.367253&a…

30.Urmston, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery T, Grid ref SJ 761 950,-2.361481&a…

31.Chorlton cum Hardy, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H10, Grid ref SJ 806 937,-2.293632&a…

32.Urmston, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H6, Grid ref SJ 772 958,-2.34468&…

33.Davyhulme, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H2, Grid ref SJ 748 954,-2.380678&am…

34.Urmston, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery H, Gird ref SJ 770 960,-2.347856&a…


I am grateful to George Cogswell for information and his photographs of an outer blast door – one in situ and a photo of the same as it was having been recovered and displayed in his museum (which no longer exists) – from an underground munitions store at Altrincham.

George advises there was an anti-aircraft gun emplacement across the road from the munitions store at John Leigh Park. This AA gun emplacement is not mentioned on Pastscape, which probably means there are other such sites around Greater Manchester; as stated above, the details provided are only those I have knowledge of.

The munitions store was at a point where the Oldfield Road bends to the left coming from the direction of the A56 and there was a ramp down to it. The site is now beneath a new housing estate.



Photos used with kind permission of George Cogswell. His websites are here.
base map from wikipedia commons…

43 comments on “Map showing Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery sites around Manchester
  1. Highy says:

    Nice work mate, fairly sure there’s a (big!) book listing these – I’ll have a trawl.

  2. salfordlad1 says:

    This is fantastic work Ian..I’ve lived at Besses and Whitefield and of course, Salford..Wonderful to see.

  3. Gizzardtreedude says:

    Excellent information!!!

  4. cgullz says:

    [] wow. i’m impressed! and i have a history of being thorough to the point of obsessive. i think maybe i’ve found someone that’s actually better at that than me!! I’m quite overwhelmed by it all.
    Manchester doesn’t make it to the coast? What’s to the west.

  5. Ian D B says:

    [] Thanks Mark.
    [] Thanks Ang too. This isn’t a typical Flickr upload, no photo for people to look at and comment on, I wouldn’t expect most people to be interested in it. It was a paiin to do, but am glad I have. I can use it as a base and add other details to the map in future as well.
    Liverpool is to the west by the way, but Manchester is a port because of the Manchester Ship Canal and the docks at Salford and the warehouses in the centre of Manchester which attracted the bombers.

  6. amyrey says:

    You could have a treasure hunt…. first to visit all the sites is the winner. Would be kinda fun…… I think I’d win.

  7. bazylek100 says:

    It must have been a lot of work, Ian! Well worth the effort though, it’s a great documentation.

    If there were only field heavy a-a gun emplacements, I wouldn’t expect to see any remains today. But, while looking at the google maps links it puzzled me that the original gun batteries locations haven’t been built-up until today.

    By the way, have you seen Vienna Flaktürme?

  8. mick cooke says:

    great work ian some great info there bet a few people can rember them on the map

  9. stiemer says:

    Very informative, are there any remains do you know?

  10. crusader752 says:

    Blimey Ian – top work 🙂

  11. cgullz says:

    [] i know what you mean – my whole nznatives stream is like that – purely reference for me!

  12. Ian D B says:

    Thanks guys.

    [] I have no idea, need to take a look!

    [] Thanks Robin, yeah have seen photos of that. It is an impressive structure! There were a couple in Berlin, I think one is still there?

    [] Aye.

  13. jon cummins says:

    My Grand Father was on the Rusholme Battery, and he told me they never fired in anger because of the Percussion damage.

    • Ian D B says:

      Thanks Jon.

      • richard holt says:

        Hi Ian ,fantastic info.I have wondered about these positions for years,now I know.Have you any info on the barrage balloon
        positions,especially around the Irwell valley,Agecroft area?
        For a great photo of Bank lane Heavy AA battery,go to “Britain from above”and search “universal metal”.For a pic of”Crofts bank Heavy AA battery,search “Ford Shadow factory”,also some bomb craters and etc.The shadow factories were the production line for the Merlin Engines,the test bays can clearly be seen at both Davyhulme and Barton Dock Road Plants.
        Cheers Rick

        • Ian D B says:

          Thanks Rick. Will take a look later for barrage balloon positions. Not sure what there is on the internet but I will have a look in my books and e-mail you if I find anything. Britain from Above is a terrific resource isn’t it! I’ll have a look for Ford shadow factory as you suggest. Lots of WWII history around Barton and Trafford.

          • Ben says:

            Hi mate where in the barton area out of interest?

          • Ian D B says:

            Hi Ben, at the industrial park and what is now trafford centre, there was lots of essential war work going on – aircraft built at Metro Vicks and Merlin engines built at Ford I think, all industry linked to the sea by the canal. Subsequently the town was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe.

  14. Michael says:

    At the end of the War my Dad – who had fought in North Africa and been a POW in Italy/Poland – was talking to a guy in uniform in the bar next to the Palace Theatre on Oxford Street. He said he had been on AckAck duties – on the roof of Hulme Barracks – for most of the War. Would this have been a Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery?

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Michael, that’s likely to have been a light AA gun, a 40mm Bofors gun or a smaller calibre 20 mm Oerlikon if sited on the roof. Heavy AA guns were of 3.7 inch (94mm) calibre.

      It is possible the man was a spotter, watching for German bombers coming close to the barracks so that soldiers would be able to work through an air raid alert in the general area and only take cover if bombers were heading straight for them, which happened more than we probably imagine, most people worked through air raids when a firm had roof spotters. But given it was a barracks, I’d imagine it was a light AA gun.

      Photos below show two light AA guns and a heavy AA gun.




  15. Hi Ian,
    Great work! I’m interested in the Prestwich area.
    I know from an eye witness account that there was barrage balloon at Gardner Road Prestwich:'45.6%22N+2%C2%B017'30.1%22W/@53.5293392,-2.293876,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

    Wondering if an AA gun and a balloon be positioned together?
    I know there was also a balloon at Philips Park
    (exact location unknown)'53.8%22N+2%C2%B018'24.8%22W/@53.5316162,-2.309089,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

    I’d be interested in more info regarding the positions in Bessess and Whitefield (1&2) on your map if you have any.

    Thanks in advance

  16. Rick Holt says:

    Hi Sloopy,ther was another balloon in Drinkwater park near the old tip.The hut for the crew is still there to the left of the road.the Phillips park balloon was in the field behind the seven arches on Phillips park Road.This was demolished about the same time as the motorway was built.Another was further down Phillips park road,just past Overdale House.facing the front of the old Jewish cemetary,the hut is still there.My dad delivered meat to Overdale during WW2,he thought it was a convelescence home for injured airmen.I have been told since it was more than that.Also further towards the Molenuex brow end there was an army place I have been told of.only the gate remains now

  17. Thanks for the info Rick.

  18. Hi Rick, which field near the 7 arches was the balloon in?

    Here’s the Bank Lane, Salford position Rick refers to :

  19. I’ve dragged together some info (from above & from elsewhere on the web) onto this map of the Prestwich area.

    I also borrowed a copy of AA Command via the library. So I can see that the Prestwich AA position was listed in there as Besses, although the map ref points to Prestwich Heys. It also says the map refs are converted from the “Cassini” grid system into OS grid refs claiming accuracy to 100m if you’re tracking any of this down on the ground.

  20. Colin MacKenzie says:

    My father was based at Salford, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery near the start of the war before heading off to Ceylon, Egypt and Italy. Left January 1942 to go to the Far East from Liverpool. I think they were heading to Singapore but re-routed after it fell to the Japanese. He’s been dead almost 30 years now, but did write about walking down Bank Lane and turning left into Park Lane to get to the camp. Any more info/photos of the area for that period would be much appreciated. I think the year before he died (1987), he took a walk down memory lane, as he expected much had changed. He joined the Royal Artillery Territorial Army in Edinburgh in Feb. 1939 at the age of 18 and I think he was posted there shortly after the outbreak of war.

  21. Tony Stanton says:

    My Dad was in the same unit. 65th HAA RA His experience was exactly the same hey left Liverpool on the Empire Woodlark and transferred to the Staffordshire at Durban. They were indeed en route to Singapore but were redirected firstly to Batavia and then to Ceylon where they were involved in defending Trincomalee in teh Easter Japanese raids. They left Ceylon in March 1943 to go to Suez and travelled through Palestine. Prior to deployment to Ceylon they had been in the Orkneys and they were attacked on the Archangel with the Regiment suffering multiple casualties. They were recued by their escort HMS Blankney and went to Birmingham to regroup.

    • Colin MacKenzie says:

      Hi Tony,
      Just saw your replies, thank you so much.
      I couldn’t find the ship they were on, but I did see the Empire Woodlark was in the convoy, that solves that mystery. I did know he was in Palestine and the Orkneys too, and about the ship being attacked and them being rescued.
      Again, Tony, thank you for that info, for which, I’ll be eternally grateful.

  22. Tony Stanton says:

    Continued After their time in the Middle East, the Regiment was put into suspended animation and the men were reallocated mainly to Infantry. My Dad served the remainder of the war with the Lancashire Fusiliers in the Italy campaign.

  23. Derek Flowers always known as Ron says:

    I was one of the kids from the last families to live on the Littlemoss site in about 1959-1962. It was still layed out as an AckAck site and owned by the Army and although it was no longer in use as a working army camp did still house quite a few Army families still in the wooden spiders and what had been the administration buildings. All the hardstandings for the guns were still there and all the approach roads and bunkers. It was a great pace for us kids to live and play. Wish I had some photos as I’m writting my family history at the moment and as an army brat I like to put in as many old photos of the places I lived. Went to Littlemoss Boys School from 61-62/3.

  24. Steve Birbeck says:

    HI! I would just like to add that there were anti aircraft guns along the length of Shaftsbury Avenue in Timperley, in the fields where our house now currently stands. My neighbour was a little girl at the time and she used to come across the fields from Timperley Village to visit the soldiers.

    Local legend is that Shaftsbury avenue was a replacement runway in case Ringway got bombed (it’s long and straight enough). However, it was actually used to park up and store military vehicles for quick deployment according to more recent research I have made. Shaftsbury Avenue is a wide road with an extra pair of access roads running alongside it.

    Iteresting to think my house now stands where there was once an anti aircraft battery though!

  25. Anne Russell says:

    Hi Everyone, new to this site but trying to find details of Ack-Ack guns (areas 7 and 31 above)and barrage balloon stations on Turn Moss Playing Fields between Stretford and Chorlton cum Hardy in Manchester. I have unearthed info that this area played a crucial part in the war with oil chimneys to stop enemy aircraft flying along the Bridgewater Canal into Trafford Park. I am trying to build up a history and would welcome any info or guidance you can give me on where to start! Many thanks

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