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V1 Flying Bomb site, Worsley, Then & Now
The morning of Christmas Eve 1944.
People in the UK, especially in the North, probably thought they had seen the last of the Luftwaffe that late in the war.
V1 missiles had previously been launched from sites in France but when the Allies invaded and over ran those places, the Luftwaffe developed a new strategy; V1s were carried beneath Heinkel bombers and 45 were released off the Yorkshire coast aimed roughly at Manchester, to deliver a blow to civilians as revenge for the bombing raids on German cities.
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The V1 which landed at Worsley, north west of Manchester, came down in the back garden of 18 Woodstock Drive, demolishing the house and that of number 16 and damaging others in the vicinity. Although many were injured, there was only one fatality, 4 year old Brian Walter Ainsbury at Number 20. (note 22 May 2022, thanks to Jan Gore for the corrected details about Brian Ainsbury including the correct spelling of his name)
Morning of Christmas Eve, 1944 on Woodstock Drive, Worsley. There are at least 7 Civil Defence rescuers surrounding this car at the front of the house.
It is evident from the people who remember this attack and have commented on other photos in this series, that their parents were able to quickly identify the sound of the V1’s pulse jet engine, having seen newsreel footage of V1 strikes on London. They knew to take cover quickly, actions which doubtless saved lives.
The missile came in over Stalybridge, Collyhurst and Cheetham Hill before impacting at 05.30.
The couple now living at Number 18 bought the property from a Mr Statham who survived the attack and had his house rebuilt. The V1 had cleared a space in the back garden, they told me, enabling an extension to be included in the new building’s plans.
Details and image above from Peter J C Smith’s excellent book FLYING BOMBS over the PENNINES, 1988.
Link below is to a sound file of a V1 Flying Bomb passing overhead when the engine cuts and there’s a few seconds of silence before the thing falls to earth and explodes.