Then and now. Oldham 13th October 1941.

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Then and now. Oldham 13th October 1941

These chaps have just dug this thing up from 28 feet under Lilac Lane in Oldham.

Peter J C Smith (2003) notes that during the two hour air raid on Oldham on the night of 12 October 1941, 27 people were killed including 4 children, and a further 47 were injured of which 16 were seriously injured. There were 5 unexploded bombs in Oldham to be dealt with the following morning.

Same scene, Lilac Lane, Oldham, as it is now.

Old photo © Greater Manchester Police Museum & Archives. Used with kind permission.

29 comments on “Then and now. Oldham 13th October 1941.
  1. Neal. says:

    Still standing thanks to those men, I had a girlfriend whose uncle did this, got an O.B.E. for it, ran a model shop in Southend.

  2. Ian D B says:

    They were a brave bunch. Heroic deeds were done thousands of times every day.

    Remember Danger UXB?


    yeah, I’d bore the living daylights out of the poor wee sods.

  3. BillAnd says:

    bomb disposal crews didnt mind defusing these larger bombs, cos if it went off – they wouldnt know, it would simply be the end. Smaller devices however were a different matter – they just maimed or injured, thus more painful

    great piece of history and research as always Ian

    many thanks for sharing

  4. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    I wonder how much people living in this street are aware of what happened on their doorstep during the war and of the existence of this photograph! Amazing pics.

  5. charles widdall says:

    The Cranberry pub on Cranberry St Glodwick. Hit by ‘Doodlebug’ rebuilt and reopened about Christmas 1965. Teddy and Annie Faulkner, Wilsons licensees first landlord and lady on reopening. Had my wedding reception upstairs 12 March 1966… 60 guests 3 course chicken roast plus evening buffet £34.17/6pence total, just about 60pence each!! but I think we drank the pub dry!

    • Ian D B says:

      Great memories there Charles. Good that you recall the details, you must have it written down somewhere? £34 wouldn’t buy a meal and an evening buffet for one now!

      March 66 though…. Couple of years before I was born.

      Take it you have seen the piece on the V1 at Glodwick?


    • Steven Corbett says:

      My Grandma Avis Corbett lived behind the Cranberry pub.I believe her house was miraculously spared major damage as did she.

    • Paul Wild says:

      I was born in Oldham and spent the first 12 years of my life in Glodwick. My Great Auntie, My Grandfather’s Sister lived on Cranberry street, during that raid and her family and house survived. The V1 raid was a huge attack on Manchester which went wrong, if successful it would have destroyed the city. My Great Auntie was called Fanny Lamb nee Shelmerdine which was my Mother’s maiden name. My Mother often talked about this raid. Very interesting piece. My friend at school lived in a house built in the gap on Abbeyhills Road, left by the raid.

  6. Ian Crickett says:

    I don’t think the Cranberry Street bomb was a V1 (doodlebug). That was the one that fell on Abbeyhills Road at Christmas 1944. (Nearly got me, that one). My dad lived on Roundthorn Road in 1941, and he always told me that when his mate’s house went up with the original Cranberry pub, they went round in the morning, and there was a light bulb hanging from one of the beams in the shattered house which was still switched on. We used to play in the cinders on the bomb site when we were kids in the 50s, and used bricks to make ‘streets’ to ride our bikes round.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Ian, thanks for your visit and comment. Please follow my link in the comment above regarding the V1 which fell at Abbey Hills Rd.

      I understood Abbeyhills is in Glodwick? That’s what I thought Charles was referring to, Cranberry St being just 500m from where the V1 came down. Given the blast damage from a V1 typically extended about one mile from the point of impact, I took it Charles was referring to the same?

      However it is interesting to read of a separate bomb falling on Cranberry Street?

      Next week I intend to start a trawl through the Oldham archives and do a complete piece about the bombing of the town, similar to the one I did regarding the bombing history of Bury (follow the link above to Air Raids & Bomb Sites). Cranberry Street will be as good a place to start as any. Watch this space!

      Thanks for sharing your memories.


    • Stewart Cole says:

      Bomb fell on house in Abbeyhills road on my mother in laws wedding night.Some people sadly were killed.Mother-in-law Ethel Molden.

  7. Christoher Coulthard says:

    Very brave men who were paid a pittance for doing that work. I couldnt imagine the British youth of today doing that.

    Chris in Huddersfield

  8. Alan Noden says:

    12th October 1941 Oldham bombed

    Sirens sounded at 11-06pm
    The raid lasted 112 minutes

    Bombs (H.E.) landed at :-

    Foxdenton Lane
    Behind the Elk mill – Broadway
    Hollinwood cemetry
    Oak Road, Hollins
    Lilac Lane, Hollins
    In the lodge of the Twist
    St. Margaret’s Institute, Incline Road
    Green Lane – Garden Suburbs
    The boys football ground – Fredrick Street
    Manley Road
    Mirfield Avenue
    Cranberry Street, Glodwick
    West Lea school
    Napier Street East
    Werneth Hall Road
    Breeze Hill Road
    Werneth Golf Course
    In the grounds of the “Coppice” – Windsor Road
    Chamber colliery bowling green

  9. ALAN WALKDEN says:

    WELL DONE ALAN. Thanks for the list of bomb sites,It brought back many memories I would visit and play on many of those bomb sites within days of them being bombed ,looking for shrapnel etc ,I was just a kid about 10 years old. By that time the sites ha been cleared and leveled.It is sad but at that age it was just another wartime adventure. Alan Walkden

  10. keith blyden says:

    I was born on Lilac Lane only 19 years after the war ended.
    I had often heard of a UXB & was told of 2 different paces where it had supposedly landed. I was told it landed in the centre of the lane, between number 13 & 10 & was also given a second location of the bottom of the lane near the the junction of Birch Ave.
    These photos seem to indicate the top of the lane near the junction of Poplar Ave. Great to now know the real location.
    Thanks ….

  11. marie slater says:

    I am a survivor of the night of 12/13 october 1941 when Hawksley St, was also bombed the bomb dropped in the mill lodge of the Old Bog mill ( Chamber mill ) known locally the Old Bog otherwise I wouldn`t be speaking to you now 4 house4s down my mum dad a nan lived at number 22 and so much damage it had to be knocked don ig my nan had still been in bed a large coping stone through the roof fe3ll on her bed that was a night to remember i was 4 years old and remember it welli have a scar on muy forehead now from that night, my dasd carried me into the air raid shelter quite low i banged my head on the low door , hence the scar , my next door nreighbour was killed that night and found 3 days later and not many people aware of the night Hawksley street was bombed my dad was blown of his feet nd if my mum hadn`t had got us out of bed , well that would have been 4 more casualties. look up the info at the social sdtudies place on Union street i did alot of my researches there. Marie Slater

  12. John McKune says:

    The information about Hawksley St is correct. The missing body started a scurrilous rumour that the deceased had been seen in the town with a serving soldier’s wife.another bomb in the same stick exploded below ground in the bowling green of the “Waggon “ pub on Oldham Rd (facing the Smut pub. The Waggon was demolished when the road was widened. Another bomb exploded in Hollinwood cemetery uncovering a number of buried bodies. How do I know this? Because my grandad lived at 47 Heron St (opposite the top of Hawksley St and my mother stayed there, and I was born there whilst my father was away in the war. The family name was Bate and my uncle John also of 47 was a paratrooper and captured at Arnhem and survived the infamous “Death March” at the end of the war.

    • David Haley says:

      I remember going to see an unexploded rocket on a trailer behind the Waggon & Horses Pub. We lived on Old Lane at the time. I was born at Woodfiel Nursing Home – next to Worneth Park – 10th Jan 1944. Emergeny cesarian and they waved the cost of £40 because I was not exected to live. That was just over 80 year ago.

      Does anyone know when the Melrose Mill was bombed – we used it as a playground in the late 1940’s

  13. Claire Wilkinson says:

    My father, Alwyn Wilkinson FRCS (3.9.1925 to 13.2.2016) was lying awake in his childhood home on Vicarage Street by St Margaret’s Church Hollinwood on the night of this bombing raid. He told the story to me of a V1 cruising past the open bedroom window. Apparently when the bomb stopped whining, it exploded. It stopped by the window, almost hovering, and he waited for the explosion being certain he would die. He was 16 years old. But the bomb continued another few hundred feet, or maybe it was his hearing and the speed of sound. It exploded in Incline Road. The following morning he discovered it had killed his school friend. The randomness that he survived and his friend died never left him, I think, and became part of his motivation to go to medical school at Manchester university, become an orthopaedic surgeon and ultimately be in charge of A&E at Royal Oldham Hospital for many years. He funafamentally never left. He died aged 90 after a forty year career in the NHS in a nursing home less than half a mile from where he lay that terrible night as a teenager, having cured and healed the people of Oldham for his professional life. I’m glad that local historians are taking an interest in this era.

  14. John Burt says:

    My mother was 8 yrs old (now 88) and living with her family at the Prince Albert Pub on Lee and Union St W., just near Napier Street E. She remembers the bomb whistling through and her father (Harry Taylor) running down into the cellar, saying, “This one’s for us!”. The explosion blew out their window facing Lee and Napier St., causing significant damage on Napier St.

  15. David Bottomley says:

    Does anyone know anything about bombs dropped in Chadderton – specifically my father who remembers a bomb destroying the house next door on Victoria Street?

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi David,

      Do you have the house number on Victoria Street where your father lived? If so, you can look on Google Street View to see if the house next door is there or if there is a gap, or if a new building has been built since. For example, looking at number 146 Victoria Street there is a gap next to it and what look like newer houses next to that. It could be the original plan, or it could be evidence of a bomb.

      I have had a quick look around online, there is a report from someone saying Chadderton was bombed 20 Dec 1940 during the Manchester Christmas blitz. It may have been but Oldham’s worst air raid was this one, October 1941.

      I did find a reference to someone from Argyll St, Chadderton being seriously injured on 20 December 1940, and he was treated at Ancoats Hospital. However, the reference to Chadderton is his home address, he was probably in Manchester at the time.

      Looking at my books, sadly most of them focus on Manchester and Salford. There is a book available from amazon called “When the Lights Come on Again: Oldham People and World War Two” which could provide the info you need, but it’s a long shot.


  16. Chris R says:

    Hi David and Ian . My grandfather ran the Bakery Shop on the corner of Victoria Street Chadderton and Burnley Lane. A parachute mine landed behind his shop in December 1940. It didn’t explode and it was defused soon after the raid. When I was a kid (early 1970s) there used to be large wooden beams supporting the side walls of the properties around the back of the shop. I believe these were put in because of the impact of the mine. That corner, at the junction has been demolished now, probably because the property was structurally unsafe. The bomb disposal folks gave part of the fuse to my grandad as a souvenir. For some reason it spent the next 50 years in his cutlery drawer at his house in Chadderton. All the best Chris R.

  17. Lee Bloor says:

    When I was brought up in lilac lane I lived at number 4 in the 1970 my old fella shown me were it landed between 4 and number 6

  18. coral escott says:

    Does anyone know if there was bomb damage in Derker Street?
    As a child I recall playing in the rubble behind the terraced

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