Wartime Whaley

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G. Jackson
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#3184 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by G. Jackson »

Also 2 banks.
G. J.



gritch
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#3185 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by gritch »

History has always fascinated me and I love to find out about local towns and their memories. I remember my mum telling me of the bombings in New Mills.
A German bomber hit a house just past the fire station heading towards Birch Vale and inside a little girl was playing the piano. She was killed instantly and the house was so badly damaged it had to be demolished. Apparently my grandad and Dr. Milward were amongst those who helped dig through the rubble.
Also I recall being told of Whaley having Ack Ack guns which is contrary to what megaroc has said. I might have it wrong (?) I was told of there being 2 searchlights at Shallcross manor which lit up the night sky and the guns were positioned in the Drill Hall up New Horwich Road. The Drill Hall was originally called the Band of Hope and was built by a tea total group called The Sons of Temperance, or so I believe. Apparently the big gas tower built in Shallcross Sidings (where Cromford Court now stands) was built to a German design and German engineers were regularly on site during its construction in 1927.
They gave information to the Luftwaffe as to the tower's location and when the pilots found it they knew exactly how far they were from Sheffield, Stoke, Stockport, Manchester and so on.I was told you could get to the Gas Tower from Chapel Road by going down the gap steps and just at the bottom of those steps was a huge air raid shelter.
Yes megaroc...I have read that Horwich end was once a thriving village in its own right with many shops and businesses, and I have managed to trace an ancestor who was a blacksmith around there in census records.
Its all very interesting !! :chers:


Gail

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#3186 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by Digger »

gritch wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:09 pm
History has always fascinated me and I love to find out about local towns and their memories. I remember my mum telling me of the bombings in New Mills.
A German bomber hit a house just past the fire station heading towards Birch Vale and inside a little girl was playing the piano. She was killed instantly and the house was so badly damaged it had to be demolished. Apparently my grandad and Dr. Milward were amongst those who helped dig through the rubble.
Also I recall being told of Whaley having Ack Ack guns which is contrary to what megaroc has said. I might have it wrong (?) I was told of there being 2 searchlights at Shallcross manor which lit up the night sky and the guns were positioned in the Drill Hall up New Horwich Road. The Drill Hall was originally called the Band of Hope and was built by a tea total group called The Sons of Temperance, or so I believe. Apparently the big gas tower built in Shallcross Sidings (where Cromford Court now stands) was built to a German design and German engineers were regularly on site during its construction in 1927.
They gave information to the Luftwaffe as to the tower's location and when the pilots found it they knew exactly how far they were from Sheffield, Stoke, Stockport, Manchester and so on.I was told you could get to the Gas Tower from Chapel Road by going down the gap steps and just at the bottom of those steps was a huge air raid shelter.
Yes megaroc...I have read that Horwich end was once a thriving village in its own right with many shops and businesses, and I have managed to trace an ancestor who was a blacksmith around there in census records.
Its all very interesting !! :chers:
Hi Gritch that is interesting.

I was curious about there being two searchlight batteries and no guns so I did a bit of research and it seems that searchlights operated in pairs, the beams crossing over, which helped the gunners to range onto the target. The Ack-Ack guns would not have been near the searchlights so I think what you recall is right.



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#3187 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by Digger »

I was looking for information about the extended defence of Whaley Bridge such as gun emplacements,pill boxes etc. and I came across this which might be of interest to anyone who is too far away to see it if they wanted to.

http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Derbyshir ... ridge.html



megaroc
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#3188 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by megaroc »

hello digger, no, there was no aa guns at the drillhall, up at shallcross manor they had lewis gun, or a strip lewis as they where known, it fired .303 ammunition, we often saw the soldiers drilling on it but never heard it fired, when the searchlight was on you could read a book in the light,



Digger
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#3189 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by Digger »

megaroc wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:34 pm
hello digger, no, there was no aa guns at the drillhall, up at shallcross manor they had lewis gun, or a strip lewis as they where known, it fired .303 ammunition, we often saw the soldiers drilling on it but never heard it fired, when the searchlight was on you could read a book in the light,
Hello megaroc, that is interesting. Could you hear guns being fired in the distance when the searchlights were in use?
An other use for searchlights was to illuminate the raiders so night fighters could home in on them and shoot them down. Maybe that is what they were used for, Ringway is not that far away. I do not know if they had fighters there or not but it was used for military purposes.



megaroc
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#3190 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by megaroc »

Hi Digger,we could hear the guns firing a round stockprt/Manchester area when the blitz was on and we could see the barrage balloons and hear the bombs dropping,but I don't think Whaley searchlight did much,infact I think the army may have gone by then,but I am not sure about that.Some people said that when the raiders came over the searchlight was used as a decoy ,so that that they would drop their, bombs on the country and not the towns



megaroc
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#3191 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by megaroc »

Sorry Digger the army didn't come to Whaley until after the manchester blitz and stayed about a year.



gritch
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#3192 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by gritch »

I was talking with an old friend about this forum and the German bombers that came over WB and mentioned there had been an interesting discussion about The Drill Hall as to whether or not there were anti aircraft guns kept there.
He said he didn’t know but he had a mate who would probably know as he had done a lot of work there.

Later in the day he got back to me and said he had managed to speak to AB who said he had done a lot of work up there and because it was riddled with dry rot he took out most of the floors, the window frames and some sort of a stage area that was on a lower level. At the top end of the building was an internal garage and next to it a mess room where the LDV’s met, people like Henry Lugg and so on. In the garage was a very large gun and a search light. He said he didn't know if either of them worked or had ever worked, where they had come from or eventually went to.
He did remember a big German gun was brought to Whaley to stand in the Memorial Park. There was such an outcry locally about this that the German gun went somewhere else and he thinks it could have been the one in Drill Hall. He assumed it must have ended up in Melland’s scrap yard on Long Hill.
:scrat:
?? Can anything be added to this I wonder??


Gail

megaroc
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#3193 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by megaroc »

hello gritch, from early 1943 to mid 1947 I was in the army cadets and we had our drill nights twice a week at the . drill hall and sometimes on a sunday, at that time the home guard was using it for their drill nights, I think the war department owned it then.in my four years there I don't remember an old gun or searchlight there.the cadets still used the drill hall after I had left, so the gun and searchlight may have come after that.i hope this bit of informtian will help you.



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Gnatalee
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#3206 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by Gnatalee »

Hello everyone

I have been taking a peek at the 1939 register on My Heritage and, surprise-surprise, my mother has gained a sister !! (She definitely didn't have a sister). Absolutely no idea who the person was in relation to the household and there is one other person who is blanked-out. So, it was my understanding that the 1939 register was taken in the run-up to the war. My thoughts are that perhaps the girl mentioned is an evacuee - but am thinking that it would've been too early. Have done a little investigation and suspect the girl was from Manchester - which would tie=in with the evacuee possibility.

So, does anyone have any idea when the first evacuees were distributed in the village? I know my Grandma was part of the billeting committee and I know they did have evacuees, but I just think that this is a little too early. Help !!!

Gnats



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#3207 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by Digger »

Gnatalee wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 6:12 pm
Hello everyone

I have been taking a peek at the 1939 register on My Heritage and, surprise-surprise, my mother has gained a sister !! (She definitely didn't have a sister). Absolutely no idea who the person was in relation to the household and there is one other person who is blanked-out. So, it was my understanding that the 1939 register was taken in the run-up to the war. My thoughts are that perhaps the girl mentioned is an evacuee - but am thinking that it would've been too early. Have done a little investigation and suspect the girl was from Manchester - which would tie=in with the evacuee possibility.

So, does anyone have any idea when the first evacuees were distributed in the village? I know my Grandma was part of the billeting committee and I know they did have evacuees, but I just think that this is a little too early. Help !!!

Gnats
Hi Gnats,

I can't help with the date for evacuees, but I think they started almost as soon as the Blitz on cities started.

The 1939 Register was an emergency census. They knew they could not do the normal one that was scheduled for 1941 so they did it in 1939.
As far as I can find out the 1939 register was updated in the mid 1970's, and will not be updated again.
Due to the 100 year closure of the census, when the 1939 one was updated and released, the names of those still alive were blanked out.

I have attached an example of the register for my Uncles and Auntie, who are blanked out, which I assume is the register you refer to? My Grandparents are listed because they had passed away by this time.

I hope this is of interest.
Digger
Attachments
1939NR-John index.jpg
1939NR-John index.jpg (34.11 KiB) Viewed 343 times



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Gnatalee
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#3208 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by Gnatalee »

Thanks Digger, that is helpful. I have now found that the date the register was taken was 29 September 1939 - at least in Whaley ! So, it was just after the start of the war - explains why my Dad isn't on it as he had already enlisted.

The name changes/alterations are very useful - more often than not indicates a marriage for the females. I believe the NHS used this register too in the early days. In the case I have quoted, the girl's name was Ward, which was then altered to Chetwynd - which I have managed to trace from Manchester down to Nuneaton, Warwicks. So, either the girl and the "blocked" person on the register are evacuees or my Mum's schoolfriends.

Another point, many people didn't register initially as thought they would be "called-up" pretty swiftly - but had to eventually register because, of course, they wouldn't get their ration books !

Gnats



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#3209 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by G. Jackson »

If it helps. The very first evacuations started the day before war was declared.
G. J.



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Gnatalee
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#3210 Re: Wartime Whaley

Post by Gnatalee »

Thank you G.Jackson - that does help ! I am thinking that the girl (and the mystery person) are evacuees from Manchester. Perhaps this would be in the "phoney war" period.

The 1939 register makes interesting reading on many levels, the information you can gain is so interesting - full dates of birth, occupations, subsequent married names for single women, exact addresses. It's just a shame that there are still blocked-out records.

Gnats



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