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North-East Diary

Roy Ripley &
Brian Pears
© Copyright Brian Pears 1994-2011


22nd April 1941 to
27th April 1941

Tuesday, 22nd April 1941  D598

Shipping E of Berwick attacked. Minelaying off the mouth of the Tyne.

Day 598. All times BST. Blackout ends: 05.18, begins: 20.53

Tuesday, 22nd/Wednesday, 23rd April 1941  N598

Night 598. All times BST. Blackout begins: 20.53, ends: 05.15
Public Alert: 21.17, All-Clear: 22.07

Wednesday, 23rd/Thursday, 24th April 1941  N599

Countrywide about 300 enemy aircraft were operating mainly on Channel fighter sweeps, reconnaissance and anti-shipping flights, very few penetrating inland, But there were incidents reported at Belford in Northumberland, Cleadon in Co Durham, Hull and Pocklington in Yorkshire.

22.15.. Northumberland.. Four HEs in fields Chester Hill Farm, Belford. One at [NU146355], one at [NU148352].

03.12.. Co Durham.. Two PMs were dropped at Cleadon, one exploded in a field and caused damage to windows and doors of farmhouses. There were no casualties. The other mine fell in a field and failed to explode. The mine is about 400 yards from the main Sunderland/South Shields road and it was found necessary to divert traffic. One hundred and twenty houses in the vicinity were evacuated. The mine was rendered safe and the road opened for traffic by 14.30, when the evacuated houses were reoccupied.

22.40.. Hull.. Two AA shells fell in St George's Road and Glasgow Street, where they demolished two houses. There were no casualties.

Night 599. All times BST. Blackout begins: 20.55, ends: 05.13
Public Alert (Newcastle Warning Dist): 22.31, All-Clear: 01.00
Industrial Alarm: 22.56, Release: 23.10
Public Alert (Newcastle Warning Dist): 02.58, All-Clear: 03.45
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 21.29, All Clear: 23.34

Thursday, 24th/Friday, 25th April 1941  N600

Yorkshire.. A German night fighter attacked a training aircraft near Church Fenton airfield. Eight HEs were dropped on the same airfield.

Night 600. All times BST. Blackout begins: 20.57, ends: 05.11

Friday, 25th April 1941  D601

Day 601. All times BST. Blackout ends: 05.11, begins: 20.58
Industrial Alarm: 12.16, Release: 12.26

Friday, 25th/Saturday, 26th April 1941  N601

Extensive bombing attacks and long-range night fighter patrols in the North East. Minelaying was carried out between the Tyne, Flamborough Head and off the Humber.

Bombs fell at Newcastle, Wallsend, Seghill, Blyth, Shiremoor, Bebside, Tynemouth and Cullercoats in Northumberland, South Shields, Jarrow, Hebburn, Burdon, Cleadon, Usworth, Pelaw, Gateshead and Cherry Knowle in Co Durham and Hull, Whitby and Church Fenton in Yorkshire.

22.30.. Newcastle.. Heaton.. Forty-seven deaths, most (thirty-five) at Guildford Place which suffered a direct hit by a PM with horrific results - in Guildford Place, six members of the Angus family, four of the Hagons and the Snowdons and three each of the Parks and the Reeds were killed. Houses were also damaged in Cheltenham Terrace where four members of the Robson family were wiped out. Bodies were still being recovered after five days of searching. Those unidentified were buried in a common grave in Heaton Cemetery.

HEs and IBs in the Heaton, Byker, Jesmond and Quayside areas, some damage and casualties. Altogether eighty tons of HE, sixty-four PMs and 9840 IBs were dropped between 21.55 and 23.10 and sixty-two parachute flares lit up the targets. The firefighting was extremely effective. The Tyne HAA guns fired 809 rounds and 130 RAF fighters were airborne.

There were also seventeen deaths and damage to houses at Wallsend, seven deaths at South Shields, where three medium fires were started; there were four fatal casualties at Seghill; two at Blyth, where houses, a signal box, lines and rolling stock were destroyed; two at Shiremoor and one at Bebside. There was damage at Tynemouth, Cullercoats, Jarrow, Hebburn, Burdon, Cleadon, Usworth, Pelaw and Gateshead. The German radio boasted of a "heavy attack on Sunderland" but not one bomb fell there.

Additional summary of Newcastle Police Report..

IBs fell around Heaton Secondary School and Stephenson Road. An IB came through the roof and into the bedroom of 4 Horsley Road seriously damaging the bedroom and upper staircase. The fire was extinguished by sand and stirrup pump. Fire caused serious damage to the bedroom, dividing floor and lower rooms of 20 Weldon Crescent when an IB came through the roof; a Fire Unit and the police attended this incident. At 13 Stephenson Road an IB penetrated into the attic; the fire was extinguished by sand without causing further damage. An IB fell through the roof and into the living room of the house above Hogg, Stationers, Stephenson Road. A civilian extinguished the bomb with sand after only slight damage was done to the room, but he received a slight hand injury in gaining entry to the premises. Two IBs fell onto the eaves of the Corner House Hotel at the junction of Stephenson Road and Heaton Road. Two civilians scaled the drain pipe and threw the bombs to the ground where they were extinguished by sand. IBs also fell on the nearby Lyric Cinema (now the People's Theatre) but were soon extinguished.

At Jesmond Park East the houses "Denehurst" and "Wyncote" suffered fire damage to their roofs and a certain amount of interior damage from water. The latter house was occupied by the military and they assisted the AFS to extinguish the fire there. Many other IBs in the area were extinguished by the police, wardens and street fire parties before any damage was done.

22.20.. An HE seriously damaged Nos 20 and 22 Cheltenham Terrace. Two people were seriously injured at No 20 and were taken to First Aid Post No 6 and another ten people in the street who suffered minor injuries were treated by First Aiders. Two IBs on the roof of Heaton Assembly Rooms, at the junction of Heaton Road and North View, which housed the Heaton Electric Picture Hall, were quickly extinguished by a Fire Unit.

22.30.. Another HE in Cheltenham Terrace completely demolished Nos 4 and 6. Persons were believed trapped and two Rescue Squads were put to work. A body was recovered at 00.25 and another at 00.30 but at 03.25 rescue work was suspended until daylight because the gable end of No 4 was considered unsafe and there was no prospect of survivors since the debris was solid down to ground level.

At the same time as the second HE on Cheltenham Terrace, a PM fell on Guildford Place demolishing several houses and causing severe damage to many more. A Fire Unit, an Ambulance and two Rescue Squads were called immediately and a second Fire Unit and three more Rescue Squads attended shortly afterwards. Four casualties were taken to the RVI by private car before the services arrived and another man, apparently dead, was removed from the street. Water was immediately played over the smouldering ruins but a fractured gas main caught fire and had to be sealed with sand bags. Although the Gas Company had quickly cut off supplies to the area, people in the district were warned to leave windows open and not to sleep in case gas accumulated in their houses. Electricity supplies were also disconnected for safety reasons.

Bombed out people were sent to North View Schools. A man was found pinned under the ruins of 8 Guildford Place and Rescue Squads worked in relays amongst the smoke and water until he was rescued at about 01.00. First Aid was given and he was conveyed to Biddlestone Road Clearing Station. At 03.30 all rescue worked was suspended until daylight but at 04.45 a corpse was discovered, an ambulance was ordered to convey this body to the mortuary. Excavation work recommenced at 06.00 and continued for several days. By 09.00 on Monday April 28th, twenty-four bodies (fourteen male, seven female, three of undetermined sex) had been recovered, seven of which were unidentified. By noon on Wednesday April 30th these figures had risen to thirty-three, including fourteen unidentified, a day later the tally stood at forty-six bodies with eight unidentified.

22.35.. An HE at the junction of Shields Road and Algernon Road caused a large crater and fractured a gas main which then caught alight producing high flames Three men were injured by the explosion. A second HE, 15 yards from the first, had completely demolished the Gents lavatory at the junction of Shields Road and Union Road. The bombs caused a considerable amount of damage to the shops in the vicinity. An Ambulance, a Fire Unit and the Gas Company were called. The injured men were quickly removed to the RVI and the flames were easily extinguished once the Gas Company's men had cut off the gas.

A UXB buried itself diagonally to a considerable depth after crashing through the roof and kitchen of 95 Grace Street. Police and Wardens quickly evacuated the neighbourhood. 220 residents were sent to Byker Parish Hall and 120 to Jubilee Schools, Union Road. The bomb was made safe by men of No 27 Bomb Disposal Section, Royal Engineers, and on Monday April 28th the area was declared safe. Two HEs fell on vacant land in Jesmond Vale between Ouseburn Road and the foot of Grosvenor Gardens. They formed craters 30' across and 15' deep but caused no casualties and very little damage. Another HE exploded on the main walk of Heaton Park about 40 yards from the Park Superintendent's house; the damage was slight and was confined to shrubs and greenhouse windows. A further HE fell in the grounds of the ARP Depot at Dunstanburgh House producing a crater about 24 feet in diameter. The only damage was a single broken window and a hole measuring 2' by 3' in the roof of the hut belonging to the Depot.

An HE and a UXB fell in the Sutherland Park off The Drive, Benton. The UXB was 400 yards from any building and was completely buried, the hole being 2' in diameter and 10' deep. This was not considered urgent and was not dealt with by a Bomb Disposal Squad until Monday May 5th.

IBs fell in the Quayside / Milk Market area. At the Tyne Hotel Public House, Milk Market there was fire damage to roof and to the contents of the attic.

The Emergency Centres at Jubilee Schools (Union Rd), St Gabriel's Hall, North View Schools, and Byker Parish Hall were opened to accommodate bombed-out residents.

Northumberland.. Wallsend.. Sixteen people were killed in incidents centred around Headlam Street, Back Headlam Street, Western Road and Ridley Avenue.

Houses and other properties sustained damage.

Northumberland.. Seghill.. Properties sustained damage at Seghill. Fatalities occurred in Station Row and Station Road.

Northumberland.. Shiremoor.. Properties sustained damage at Shiremoor where two people were killed in Louisa Street.

Northumberland.. Tynemouth Borough.. Shortly after the Alert was sounded, numerous flares lit up the whole of this and surrounding districts. A medium HE fell in a field occupied by an AA battery off Broadway, Tynemouth. Eleven HEs (two large and nine medium) fell in a field adjacent to that occupied by the AA battery off Broadway, Tynemouth. Two PMs fell on the Golf Course, King Edward Road, Tynemouth. Two PMs fell in fields on the west side of the North Road, Preston Grange Farm. Two PMs fell on the rocks near Bathing Pool, Sea Front, Tynemouth. Eleven HEs (one large and ten medium) fell in fields near the Northumberland Arms, West Allotment, west of the Backworth Colliery Railway, near the Algernon Colliery. A single HE fell in this district (West Allotment) in the Northumberland County area. An HE fell in a field off Norham Road, near the Knitwear Factory, Percy Main. Two PMs fell on the rocks off Marconi Point, Cullercoats.

Although many IBs were dropped in the Borough, the Fire Service was not required. IBs also fell on the Tyne Improvement Commissioner's property, some of them fell on Nos 4& 5 Staiths, Whitehill Point, they were soon extinguished. An IB fell on board 'SS Rioazul' causing slight damage in the thwartship bunker which was extinguished by the ship's crew. Many IBs were dropped on the golf course in Preston and in the West Allotment area. At one residence at West Allotment, an IB fell through the roof and was dealt with by the resident after causing slight damage.

A UXB fell on the railway embankment between the Park Hotel and Beaconsfield House, Tynemouth, damaging the track between Tynemouth and Cullercoats. The hole was about 3'6" in diameter and the UXB penetrated to a depth of between 30' and 40', railway traffic was suspended between Tynemouth and Cullercoats , this lasted for about a week. It was not necessary to evacuate anyone from their homes, but personnel and equipment were evacuated from Beaconsfield AFS station to John Street station, Cullercoats. Voluntary evacuation at the Park Hotel was advised but not ordered.

One male person was slightly injured. Casualties were admitted to the hospitals in this Borough, as undermentioned, from Wallsend:-

Preston Hospital12829
Tynemouth Jubilee Infirmary-55

No building was totally destroyed or so badly damaged that demolition was necessary. Much damage was done to windows and roofs in the Tynemouth / Cullercoats area, Preston and the high and eastern parts of North Shields. First Aid repairs were carried out to all these properties by local builders and Rescue& Repair Services. There was no damage to the essential services.

Only one house was damaged badly enough to require the removal of the occupants, who found alternative accommodation. The public responded readily with regard to First Aid Repairs to property, upon being supplied with the necessary materials to make their homes waterproof, willingly carried out the work themselves.

Northumberland.. Blyth.. The only serious railway incident was at Blyth, where a signal box was demolished and lines and rolling stock nearby destroyed. The line, however, was soon reopened. Bombs also fell on Blyth town centre, many places suffered damage, including the railway station. There was damage too in:- Alexandra Crescent, Beaumont Street, Bondicar Terrace, Delaval Terrace, Redheads Factory, the makers of confectionery and Maddison Street. Two people were killed (one at Catherine Terrace and one at the railway crossing at Bebside), ten seriously injured and sixty-three slightly injured. A bomb which seriously damaged a large public shelter, caused the entrance to collapse, George Evans and Jack Furness two men acting as shelter marshals, using their bodies as a bridge helped most of the occupants to escape. The four that were unable to do so were rescued uninjured later.

Co, Durham.. There were fires and casualties at Gateshead with IBs falling to the North and East of the town.

South Shields.. This raid, although short in duration, was notable for the number of PMs dropped and the consequent large areas of damage from blast. The attack began by the fall of approximately 2,000 IBs on the docks and riverside, Robertson St., John Clay St., Imeary St., and the Laygate district. Some small fires were started but they were soon under control and caused little damage.

Following up this attack, seven PMs were released over the following places:- one on a house at the junction of King George Road and Lascelles Avenue, which demolished three semi-detached villas and damaged roofs and windows of houses and some wood structures nearby. A second mine fell on the YMCA Recreation Ground at Harton, making a small crater but causing severe damage to Ambulance vehicles dispersed round the field, and to hundreds of houses in the neighbourhood.

Another fell in a field 200 yds. south of the New Horsley Hill Hotel but apart from structural damage to houses in this area nothing serious ensued. Mines fell on or just outside the confines of the Borough; one in a field half a mile south of the Holiday Camp at Marsden, one near the old Marsden Inn, which had been evacuated and the third near the water works tower on Cleadon Hill. One which did not explode, was found in a field between Cleadon Hill and Cleadon Cottage Homes, it was disposed of later in the day by the Naval Bomb Disposal Squad under the direction of Lieutenant Apps, RN. Two more mines descended near the South Foreshore, one falling into the South Marine Park lake, causing a mighty splash of mud and water when it exploded. The other mine fell near the Promenade and Sea Hotel. The latter was severely damaged for the third time, nearly all the interior fittings being destroyed.

A stick of four HEs was dropped in the Green Lane area. The first on a field near High Simonside Farm; the second on a house in Green Lane, the occupants of the house were in an Anderson Shelter in the garden which was damaged, but only one casualty resulted. The evacuation of a large number of residents in this district was necessary as the third bomb, which fell in a field nearby, failed to explode. The fourth exploded near a hedge dividing two fields about a quarter of a mile west of High Simonside.

Casualties:- 8 (7) people were killed, 5 (3) men, 2 (3) women and 1 (1) child / 18 were seriously injured, 15 men and 3 women / 50 slightly injured, 36 men, 10 women and 4 children.

On Saturday morning the German radio claimed that the main attack of the previous nights raid (Friday) was on the Sunderland Flying Boat Works at Sunderland. In fact this was another bungled raid by the Luftwaffe, as no bombs at all fell there. Home Security could only deduce that inexperienced crews were being used. They felt that the large number of parachute mines exploding on Tyneside (i.e. North of the river) was believed explained by the strong to gale force NE wind which had blown them inland during sea mining operations.

22.08.. Co Durham.. Five injured. IBs fell on the Old Granary near Jarrow Staithes and at Hebburn. Fires were started but were quickly controlled. A PM fell at Primrose - no damage. Another fell near the Old Staithes causing damage to houses and shops.

Co Durham.. Five HE dropped at Cleadon causing no damage.

Co Durham.. One HE fell in Fisherwell Road, Pelaw, no casualties, damaged house.

Co Durham.. One HE fell in a field near Burdon causing no damage and another fell near Usworth Hall also causing no damage.

Co Durham.. Two HE fell in a field W of Cherry Knowle Farm. One of them did not explode. no damage was done.

Co Durham.. An AA shell fell and exploded in a field at Barlow - no damage.

22.50.. Hull.. Three enemy aircraft unable to bomb their primary target at Sunderland attacked Hull instead, dropping five 'B' type parachute mines and 612 incendiary bombs. Two PMs and two IB clusters fell in the Council Avenue, Rokeby Avenue area, a mine fell on the housing estate at west Hull. There was some residential damage. Seven people were killed and four seriously injured. Six of the fatalities died at Council Ave, Gipsyville and five of these were from the same family, the seventh died in Lakeside Grove.

Yorkshire.. Bombs were dropped at Whitby.

During the night AA Command only fired 1,000 rounds, with those in the Tyne Area accounting for 809 of them (482 - 4.5" / 251 - 3.7" / 676 - 3").

At 02.00 a Defiant on a night training flight from Church Fenton, was attacked by an enemy aircraft. While taking evasive action, the Defiant struck a tree and crashed about five miles from the airfield, killing its crew of two.

Night 601. All times BST. Blackout begins: 20.58, ends: 05.08
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 21.25, All Clear: 23.49
Public Alert (Newcastle Warning Dist): 21.52, All-Clear: 23.43
Industrial Alarm: 21.56, Release: 23.35

Saturday, 26th April 1941  D602

Barlow.. An AA shell crater 7'x 2'6" was found in a field near Barlow.

Day 602. All times BST. Blackout ends: 05.08, begins: 21.00

Saturday, 26th/Sunday, 27th April 1941  N602

Bombs fell at Allendale, Slaley and Hedley-on-the-Hill in Northumberland, Barlow, Chopwell, Newbottle, Ramshaw, Etherley Dene and Coundongate in Co Durham and Hull in Yorkshire.

23.55.. Northumberland.. Fifty IBs Allendale/Allenheads between Thornley Gate and Bishopfield Farm [NY826570].

Northumberland.. Allendale/Allenheads.. 200 IBs between High Acton and Knockshield Farm [NY828524] [NY837510]. Four containers found.

23.59.. Northumberland.. 100 IBs Slaley woods [NZ001561]. 150 trees damaged.

00.00.. Northumberland.. Five IBs in field and roadside east of Currock Farm, Hedley on the Hill [NZ108597].

00.03.. Co Durham.. One HE dropped in field at Barlow, Winlaton. Slight damage to barn roof and house windows. Power cables and telephone wires brought down. The Winlaton-Spen road closed for short period.

00.35.. Co Durham.. HE at Barlow causing damage to electric cable and slight damage to about a dozen houses.

Co Durham.. HE in a field near Chopwell.

Co Durham.. Two IB on grass land at Newbottle.

Co Durham.. 200 IBs fell at Ramshaw without damage.

Co Durham.. 300 IBs dropped between Etherley Dene Farm and Dam Head, no damage.

Co Durham.. One HE at Coundongate - no casualties or damage.

01.00.. Hull.. Two PMs fell in fields in the Kingston High School and Lynton Avenue area, there was slight domestic damage but no casualties.

Night 602. All times BST. Blackout begins: 21.00, ends: 05.06
Industrial Alarm: 23.46, Release: 23.56
Industrial Alarm: 00.06, Release: 00.20
Industrial Alarm: 01.41, Release: 01.55
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 21.55, All Clear: 02.55

Sunday, 27th April 1941  D603

The Fighter Catapult Ship 'Patia' had just sailed from the Tyne, on completion of her conversion and was bound for Belfast, when she was attacked and sunk by a German bomber, off the Northumberland coast. Her Captain (Commander D.M.B. Baker), went down with his ship, seven officers and thirty-one crewmen were also killed, local lifeboats searched throughout the night and in the morning brought the survivors ashore. The 'Patia' lies in 35 metres of water at 55°34'00"N - 01°27'00"W. The enemy aircraft, a Heinkel He 111H, was damaged by AA gunfire from the 'Patia' and crashed into the sea thirty-five miles off the river Tyne at 21.30. One crew member was killed, the other three were picked up in their rubber dinghy, landed at North Shields and taken prisoner.

'SS Celte' (943t) cargo ship, Reykjavik to Hull with a cargo of fish was sunk by Focke-Wulf Condor aircraft off the Faroes.

'SS Beacon Grange' (10,160t) cargo liner, Tyne to the River Plate, sunk by U 552, S of Iceland.

Day 603. All times BST. Blackout ends: 05.06, begins: 21.02
Public Alert: 13.01, All-Clear: 13.14
Industrial Alarm: 13.00, Release: 13.10

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