Bombs Over Blaydon

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During WWII numerous High Explosive bombs fell over the North East of England. The worst single disaster occurring in North Shields when Wilkinson’s Lemonade factory scored a direct hit during a raid  on 3/4 May 1941 killing 105 people. Due to strict censorship at the time very little was reported of these raids and little known of any raids except what filtered through as local gossip.

During the night of 6 May 1941 a single HE bomb had fallen near the top of Shibdon Dene damaging 564 properties of which three had to be demolished. Fortunately no one was killed but 42 people needed treatment at the First Aid Post.

Later in the year on the night of 1/2 September 1941  a raid on Newcastle resulted in 57 deaths. At Blaydon on that same evening a HE bomb fell on Tyne Street and Delacour Road damaging a factory, 60 shops and 300 houses. Donald Brown’s Engineering Works made bomb-casings and although a load had been shipped out the day before it made searching the remains afterwards very dangerous as any casing found could quite easily have been a Luftwaffe time- bomb. As a result of this raid sadly the night watchman was killed as were two men on a bus,  25 other bus passengers needed treatment. A second bomb that evening landed on Delacour Road , No’s 8 and 10 were demolished and No’s 10 and 12 Lynwood Avenue were so badly damaged they had to be pulled down. The horror of the evening continued as  3 people were killed instantly and a further two died later in hospital. Altogether 306 properties were damaged and a further 70 people needed treatment for injuries. 

The night of 30 April  1942 was a full moon – a ‘Bombers Moon’.The Operations Room, Fighter Command deep below the ground at Kenton warned of more than 30 enemy aircraft heading north- west across Co. Durham. The planes were followed by the shells of the  Big Bertha Guns at Fellside Road, Whickham as the  incendiary bombs of the enemy rained down on the Derwent Valley. 

Incendiaries fell on the fields south of the church in Winlaton and in the Twizell Avenue area. The Fire wardens sent a messenger  Sydney Robinson of the 1st Winlaton Scouts to alert the Fire Station at Blaydon.He was twice thrown off his bicycle by the blast from the Axwell Park bombs  as he raced down Shibdon Bank, but he got through with his message.

The Winlaton & District Social Club and Institute was severely damaged, and six bombs landed in allotments near Knowledge Hill scattering manure across the entire village. The incendiaries burned on the fields and roads at Lockhaugh killing a horse in Thornly Lane. But there was worse at Barlow where the The Green Tree Inn scored a direct hit killing one man.

The alert had lasted 1hr 32 minutes when the ‘All Clear’ sounded. The raid which had swept up the Tyne and Derwent valleys killed 36 people altogether and the Luftwaffe had lost a third of their planes and done nothing to further their cause. The raid wasn’t mentioned at all in the Blaydon Courier although it was covered in the Journal and Chronicle without a place name being mentioned.The enemy had missed their target. It is thought that they mistook the valley for somewhere else evidence suggesting Durham City as part of a revenge on cathedral cities  – the Baedeker Raids on other cathedral cities were all around this time.

Sydney Robinson the brave young Scout was awarded the Scouts’ Silver Gilt Cross for his efforts that fateful night.

March 2011/ as  published in Blaydon Courier for Blaydon Races Festival/June 2011.