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North-East Diary

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


12th April 1944 to
26th August 1945

Wednesday, 12th April 1944  D1684

A Norwegian Spitfire pilot on a training flight from Eshott airfield in Northumberland, was killed in a mid-air collision, over the airfield, with a USAAF Thunderbolt attached to the Flight Leaders School based at Milfield airfield near Wooler.

Day 1684. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.41, begins: 21.34

Thursday, 13th April 1944  D1685

Blyth.. Three firemen, all NFS, died at Blyth Links.

Day 1685. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.39, begins: 21.35

Saturday, 15th/Sunday, 16th April 1944  N1687

Two Handley Page Halifax bombers crashed while attempting to land at Dishforth Aerodrome. (The following reports were kindly supplied by Mr Leslie Green of Weston-super-Mare and Keith E Whitfield of Thunderbridge, Huddersfield.)

Operational Record Book, RCAF Dishforth "...Flying weather for the past week has been only fair with the result training has been held back considerably. To add to this, six of our aircraft returning from a short cross country arrived here during rain and thunderstorms. Two aircraft managed to land here and two more at Linton, but the other two crashed, killing twelve of the two crews, as well as two civilians."
Halifax EB203
"Halifax EB203 crashed into a haystack near Ripon at approx. 23.25 hours and burned. The crew as listed were all killed..."
They were Top/Sgt. Wendell N Watkins USAAF age 21; F/O H. A. Wallace J/23362 RCAF age 32; Sgt. H.L. Muisiner R/160427 RCAF age 23 (American from Pennsylvania); W/O Class 1 J Huddleston R/106580 RCAF age 20 (American from Oregon); Sgt. K.D.Holden 2209731 RAF age 20; Sgt. L.J.Cull R/200097 RCAF age 18; Sgt. C.E. Lovett R/208139 RCAF age 18
The five RCAF crew are buried at Harrogate (Stonefall) and the RAF Flight Engineer at Tyldesley Cemetery in Lancashire. The American pilot's body was taken back to the USA in 1948.
Halifax EB205
"Sent out on a routine training flight, April 15th 1944, Halifax EB 205 encountered bad weather. At one point, the crew were ordered to stand down but later ordered to fly above the storm that was due to hit the area later that day. The flight went well and they could see the storm gathering below. On returning to base at approx 2300 hrs they hit the full force of the storm. As they were preparing to land at Dishforth, both port engines had cut. The pilot radioed ahead, and he was given priority to land. Cloud cover was down to 500ft over Dishforth, on breaking cloud cover they realised they had overshot. The pilot decided to put down at the nearby Topcliffe aerodrome and was approaching there with a 10mph tailwind. As a precaution the crew were ordered to take up crash positions. The MUG John Tynski came down from his position and laid down on the floor with his parachute over his head . The aircraft careered off the end of the runway and into the railway cottages close to the road. Five crew and three civilians were also killed, one of those a James MacNulty was killed, as he was cycling by at the time. The occupants of the house Mr and Mrs Stone were also killed. John Tynski having been knocked unconscious, came to trapped by all the building rubble. On fire, and fearing for his life, his first thoughts were to gather the ammunition that had spilled from the containers and move it away from the fire.

At risk of being burned alive he then made up a makeshift wall from the brick rubble that lay all around to shield him from the heat. At this point he could hear help arriving from local farmers Rooke and Starr, who eventually dragged him to safety. It was later discovered by an accident investigation team, that the Flight Engineer had inadvertantly turned the fuel off on the port engines thus contributing to the accident. [Four of] the crew are buried at the Stonefall Cemetery Harrogate [and one at Wandsworth (Streatham) Cemetery]. Harry Pearce, navigator, also survived but was later killed over Belgium Dec 18th 1944."
Night 1687. All times DST. Blackout begins: 21.39, ends: 06.32

Thursday, 20th/Friday, 21st April 1944  N1692

Hull.. Hull was the target for another one hundred and thirty bomber raid, but as in the previous attack on the 19th/20th March 1944, none of the 49 tonnes of bombs found their target. Despite German claims that Hull was heavily bombed, and although many flares were dropped nearby, Hull was untouched, a little damage was caused in the area bounded by Scarborough - York - Peterborough - Cromer. Of the many German aircraft taking part in this raid, eight were shot down. Three Junkers Ju 188s were known to have crashed on land in the Continent, a Dornier Do 217 and three Junkers Ju 88s failed to return and a Heinkel He 177 was intercepted and shot down, 40 miles E of Spurn Head by a Mosquito of 264 Squadron.

Night 1692. All times DST. Blackout begins: 21.49, ends: 06.19

Wednesday, 10th May 1944  D1712

A Bomber crashed into a church at Selby in Yorkshire. The crew of seven and eight civilians were killed.

Day 1712. All times DST. Blackout ends: 05.08, begins: 22.57

Thursday, 25th/Friday, 26th May 1944  N1727

Wellington bomber, X MF553 JM-F, with a crew from the Free French Air Force, left Lossiemouth for a night cross-country exercise, during which they encountered severe icing at 15000ft. They descended to 7000ft but conditions did not improve and the crew were ordered to prepare to abandon the aircraft. However the captain felt a slight improvement in the aircraft handling so he attempted a landing at what he thought was an airfield.  In fact he came down at a place called Bunker Hill about 1 mile east of Consett in County Durham. Four of the crew died in the crash and subsequent fire, and three were injured, but not seriously.

Night 1727. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.23, ends: 04.42

Sunday, 28th/Monday, 29th May 1944  N1730

Night 1730. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.28, ends: 04.38
Public Alert: 03.00, All-Clear: 03.29

Wednesday, 31st May 1944  D1733

17.15.. Co Durham.. Shildon. A Stirling bomber on a training flight from Lincolnshire caught fire, broke up and crashed on the outskirts of the town killing the entire crew. The fuselage came down on the Co-op farm. The pilot was 27 year-old Pilot Officer Stanley Raymond Wilson of Newcastle.

Day 1733. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.36, begins: 23.32

Tuesday, 6th June 1944  D1739

Allied forces landed in Normandy, France, in the largest amphibious operation ever undertaken. The naval force consisted of 138 bombarding ships - 221 escorts - 287 minesweepers - over 4,000 landing craft of all sizes - 423 ancillary ships and craft and 1260 merchant ships. 79% of the combatant ships sailed under the White Ensign. On the first three days, 38 convoys, comprising 743 ships, had been sent across the Channel; and by the tenth day 500,000 men and 77,000 vehicles had been landed.

Day 1739. D-Day. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.30, begins: 23.39

Saturday, 10th June 1944  D1743

Mulberry Harbour - Caisons built at William Gray's Dry Dock, Graythorp in 1944.

Day 1743. D-Day + 4. All times DST. Blackout ends: 04.28, begins: 23.43

Monday, 12th/Tuesday, 13th June 1944  N1745

04.00.. First V1 Flying Bombs land in this country 04.00.

Night 1745. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.45, ends: 04.26

Friday, 28th/Saturday, 29th July 1944  N1791

On taking off from East Moor airfield, near York, at 22.18 a Halifax bomber, one of sixteen detailed to bomb Hamburg, was taxiing down the runway when an engine caught fire. The aircraft swung and burst into flames. The whole crew escaped before the bomb load exploded.

Night 1791. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.17, ends: 05.09

Saturday, 5th/Sunday, 6th August 1944  N1799

At 01.06 a Halifax bomber was taking off from East Moor airfield, near York, with a full bomb load, it overshot and the undercarriage collapsed.

Night 1799. All times DST. Blackout begins: 23.02, ends: 05.23

Tuesday, 8th August 1944  D1802

A Halifax bomber taking off from East Moor airfield, near York, overshot and skidded across two fields. All seven crew were unhurt.

Three Mustang fighters from the 4th Fighter Group USAAF based at Debden airfield landed at Acklington airfield. Two of them were escorting the third piloted by a major who had been badly shot up while escorting a Beaufighter attack on a convoy off southern Norway. Severely wounded, he landed safely.

A Fortress from Glatton airfield landed at Acklington airfield, to collect the crew of another Fortress which had ditched off Blyth.

Day 1802. D-Day + 63. All times DST. Blackout ends: 05.26, begins: 22.56

Wednesday, 9th/Thursday, 10th August 1944  N1803

At 22.45 a Halifax bomber based at Rufforth airfield near York, had an engine failure just after take-off and crashed at Askam Richard. The practice bombs exploded but only one crewman was injured.

Night 1803. All times DST. Blackout begins: 22.54, ends: 05.30

Monday, 21st/Tuesday, 22nd August 1944  N1815

A Halifax bomber collided with another Halifax at 18.20 over Yorkshire. The starboard inner propeller broke off one of them during some unauthorised close formation flying, that plane then swung and hit the other bomber which caught fire. Both aircraft crashed between Birkin and West Haddlesey, near Selby in Yorkshire. Seven crew members in each plane were killed and both aircraft were stationed at East Moor airfield, near York.

Night 1815. All times DST. Blackout begins: 21.56, ends: 06.23

Friday, 8th/Saturday, 9th September 1944  N1833

First V2 rockets at 18.43 at Chiswick and Parndon Wood.

Night 1833. All times DST. Blackout begins: 21.11, ends: 06.57

Saturday, 9th September 1944  D1834

Street Lighting and Blackout regulations relaxed except for certain areas in the south.

Day 1834. D-Day + 95. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.57, begins: 21.09

Sunday, 10th September 1944  D1835

A Halifax bomber operating from Elvington airfield, near York, was returning from a raid on Octeville with a hung-up 1,000 lb bomb. Once the bombs were released, the bomb-aimer made certain that all the lamps on his indicator dials - showing the presence of bombs - did not light up. Many crews on the return journey over the sea, opened the bomb doors and checked again and some asked the pilot to shake the aircraft to dislodge any bomb that may have got stuck. Despite all these precautions, this one remained and on touch-down fell out and exploded. Six of the crew were killed, but the pilot was blown clear with injuries.

Day 1835. D-Day + 96. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.58, begins: 21.07

Monday, 11th September 1944  D1836

Compulsory duties and training for the Home Guard end today. Volunteers will be welcomed, to assist the Civil Defence if needed.

Day 1836. D-Day + 97. All times DST. Blackout ends: 07.00, begins: 21.04

Tuesday, 12th September 1944  D1837

Most fireguard duties end, the exceptions are in London and parts of the East and South coasts.

Day 1837. D-Day + 98. All times DST. Blackout ends: 07.02, begins: 21.02

Sunday, 17th September 1944  D1842

The Black-out ends, except in certain coastal areas.

Day 1842. D-Day + 103. All times BST. Blackout ends: 06.12, begins: 19.48

Sunday, 1st/Monday, 2nd October 1944  N1856

A Halifax from Dishforth airfield was on a cross country exercise, when an engine caught fire. Four of the crew baled out, and at 01.55 the aircraft crashed ½ mile W of Galphay near Ripon.

Night 1856. All times BST. Dimout begins: 19.13, ends: 06.39

Tuesday, 3rd October 1944  D1858

Staff and pupils of the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle returned from evacuation in Penrith. Their school had been used by the Regional Commissioner as a Regional HQ/War Room.

Day 1858. D-Day + 119. All times BST. Dimout ends: 06.41, begins: 19.08

Sunday, 15th/Monday, 16th October 1944  N1870

At 22.00 a Halifax bomber was on a cross-country exercise when the port inner engine caught fire at 12,000'. The pilot was unable to stop or control the fire and three of the crew baled out. The aircraft crashed in flames on Caplestone Fell, Kielder in Northumberland. Three of the six crew were killed, including the pilot who probably remained at the controls, because the rear-gunner had difficulty in getting out. The remains of the aircraft were still to be seen in 1982.

Night 1870. All times BST. Dimout begins: 18.38, ends: 07.06

Tuesday, 17th/Wednesday, 18th October 1944  N1872

At 22.42 the pilot of a Halifax bomber had just taken off from Dishforth airfield on a cross country flight when he opened the bomb doors instead of raising the flaps (the levers are very near to each other). The aircraft sank from 300' and landed wheels up in a field, two miles W of Dishforth village. Five of the crew were killed and two were injured.

At 23.50 another Halifax bomber took off from the same airfield on a similar exercise and crashed 4 miles W of the airfield. All seven crew were killed.

Night 1872. All times BST. Dimout begins: 18.33, ends: 07.11

Friday, 20th October 1944  D1875

A Halifax bomber based at Wombleton airfield near Pickering, crashed on the third overshoot at 02.55 near the village of Nunnington. The crew were on a night flying training flight in very poor visibility. Two of the crew were killed and five injured.

Day 1875. D-Day + 136. All times BST. Dimout ends: 07.15, begins: 18.26

Sunday, 29th/Monday, 30th October 1944  N1884

At 21.00 a Halifax bomber swung on landing, while doing circuits and bumps at an airfield in Yorkshire. The crew were safe but the aircraft was a write-off.

Night 1884. All times BST. Dimout begins: 18.06, ends: 07.35

Monday, 30th October 1944  D1885

At 17.50 the starboard inner engine of a Halifax bomber caught fire while taxiing at Dishforth airfield after an air to air firing and bombing exercise. Once again, all the crew were safe but the aircraft was a write-off.

Day 1885. D-Day + 146. All times BST. Dimout ends: 07.35, begins: 18.04

Wednesday, 15th November 1944  D1901

At 11.44 a Halifax bomber based at Rufforth airfield near York, overshot the airfield and crashed at Askam Bryan in Yorkshire.

Day 1901. D-Day + 162. All times BST. Dimout ends: 08.07, begins: 17.34

Thursday, 16th/Friday, 17th November 1944  N1902

A Halifax bomber based at Rufforth airfield near York, had made several attempts to land but rolling mist had obscured the approach. At 22.18 the bomber made another approach, but hit Grasslands farmhouse, careered across the airfield and smashed into 2 Halifax bombers parked there and finally hit the airfield fire engine and burst into flames. Six crew plus two of the farmhouse occupants were killed.

Night 1902. All times BST. Dimout begins: 17.32, ends: 08.11

Sunday, 3rd December 1944  D1919

Newcastle - final parade of the Home Guard following the "stand-down" order.

Day 1919. D-Day + 180. All times BST. Dimout ends: 08.40, begins: 17.12

Monday, 11th/Tuesday, 12th December 1944  N1927

A Halifax bomber based at Wombleton airfield near Pickering, failed to gain height after take-off and hit a telegraph pole, 1 mile S of Nunnington at 18.25. Two of the crew were injured.

Night 1927. All times BST. Dimout begins: 17.08, ends: 08.52

Tuesday, 12th/Wednesday, 13th December 1944  N1928

At 23.35 a Halifax bomber based at Wombleton airfield near Pickering, its windscreen covered in ice made a heavy landing and its undercarriage collapsed.

Night 1928. All times BST. Dimout begins: 17.08, ends: 08.53

Saturday, 23rd December 1944  D1939

'SS Dumfries' (5,149t) cargo ship, on a voyage from Bona, Algeria, to the Tyne, was sunk by U 772, S of the Isle of Wight.

Day 1939. D-Day + 200. All times BST. Dimout ends: 09.00, begins: 17.10

Saturday, 23rd/Sunday, 24th December 1944  N1939

A special unit of Heinkel 111s was assembled in June 1944. It was formed to carry V1s or Buzz Bombs as they were called, thus adding 400 miles to their 150 mile range, then being able to bomb northern industrial targets without having to risk precious manned aircraft over land.

On this Christmas Eve, between 05.00 and 06.00, forty-five Heinkels of the special unit launched its attack on Manchester from some 40 miles off the east coast between Skegness and Mablethorpe. Thirty-one V1s crossed the coast and about half fell within 20 miles of the intended target, but some landed in Yorkshire, they include one that fell at Barmby Moor near Pocklington at 05.50, one that fell at Willerby on the western outskirts of Hull at 05.45 and another that landed in the mud just off Reads Island in the Humber Estuary, and yet another that fell at South Cliffe near Beverly. Three went badly astray, one landed in Shropshire, one in Northamptonshire and the third landed in Tudhoe, at 06.05, 170 miles off track, but not 20 miles from Newcastle!!

06.05.. Co Durham.. Eleven people were injured when a V1 landed on the cricket field at Tudhoe, the pavilion was destroyed. There was severe damage to 22 houses and slight damage to 368 other houses, a C of E Vicarage and nearby Catholic Church and orphanage were also damaged.

Hull.. Hull was on the route for a number of flying bombs destined for Manchester. One of these dropped on the outskirts of the city, in a field, the only damage being to windows and roofs, from blast. The event was an untimely one from the point of view of the householders who had to patch up their property in time for Christmas. It took more than six months to repair damage caused by this bomb. which was extensive. The Springhead pumping station was also damaged.

Night 1939. All times BST. Dimout begins: 17.10, ends: 09.00
Public Alert: 05.59, All-Clear: 06.15

Thursday, 28th December 1944  D1944

At 14.10 at Elvington airfield, near York, a bomb fell from the rack of a Halifax during bombing up and exploded, setting off the main load plus incendiaries. Thirteen were killed and five injured.

Day 1944. D-Day + 205. All times BST. Dimout ends: 09.01, begins: 17.14

Monday, 1st January 1945  D1948

A Halifax bomber operating from Pocklington airfield near York, returning from ops, undershot during landing and hit a house, killing one person.

Day 1948. D-Day + 209. All times BST. Dimout ends: 09.01, begins: 17.18

Tuesday, 2nd January 1945  D1949

Another Halifax bomber operating from Pocklington airfield near York, also returning from ops, overshot on landing and crashed into a ditch on the edge of the airfield.

Day 1949. D-Day + 210. All times BST. Dimout ends: 09.01, begins: 17.19

Tuesday, 2nd/Wednesday, 3rd January 1945  N1949

A Lancaster bomber based at Middleton St George airfield near Darlington, Co Durham, on returning from ops., overshot and crashed on the airfield.

Night 1949. All times BST. Dimout begins: 17.19, ends: 09.01

Tuesday, 23rd January 1945  D1970

A Halifax from Elvington airfield, near York, was returning from ops when the port inner engine caught fire at 7,000'. The crew abandoned the aircraft which crashed at Cranford, Northants. Two of the crew were killed.

Day 1970. D-Day + 231. All times BST. Dimout ends: 08.43, begins: 17.54

Tuesday, 6th February 1945  D1984

The Humber based blockade runners second casualty occurred today, when the 'Gay Viking', 'Hopewell' and 'Nonsuch' put to sea on 'Operation Moonshine' to deliver small arms and ammunition to the Dutch Resistance. During the voyage the 'Gay Viking' sank after being in collision with the 'Hopewell'. On the return trip the 'Hopewell' and the 'Nonsuch' brought back over sixty tonnes of much needed high grade steel.

Day 1984. D-Day + 245. All times BST. Dimout ends: 08.18, begins: 18.23

Thursday, 8th/Friday, 9th February 1945  N1986

A Halifax bomber taking off for operations from East Moor airfield, near York, failed to maintain height due to engine failure. It crashed at 02.50 near Wetherby. Its bomb load exploded, killing five and injuring the other two crew members.

Night 1986. All times BST. Dimout begins: 18.27, ends: 08.13

Sunday, 25th February 1945  D2003

'SS Egholm' (1,317t) a Danish ship, was converted for the Ministry of War Transport and was on a voyage from Leith to London when she was sunk by U 2322 off St Abbs Head at 55°55'00"N - 01°55'24"W. Two crew members and three gunners were killed. She lies in 23 metres of water. She was built in 1924.

Day 2003. D-Day + 264. All times BST. Dimout ends: 07.37, begins: 19.02

Saturday, 3rd/Sunday, 4th March 1945  N2009

In the early hours of Sunday morning, seventy night fighters roamed over eastern England for 3½ hours. catching defences napping, dropping Bombs, Anti - Personnel Bombs and spraying cannon shells on targets from Tynemouth to Southminster in Essex, a total of seventy-five incidents in all. Targets included some in Northumberland, County Durham and Yorkshire, where three trains were sprayed with cannon fire.

South Shields.. a plane flying low over the north-east corner of the town, fired cannon shells over a line of houses from Green's Place to Sea Way. Incendiary cannon shells caused two minor fires. There were no casualties reported.

01.08-02.40.. Co. Durham.. Damage to dwelling houses at Easington Colliery and Darlington by machine gun fire and cannon shells. One woman was slightly injured.

At 02.30 a Lancaster bomber in the landing circuit at Croft airfield, County Durham, had just lowered his undercarriage and flaps when a German night fighter jumped him, setting his port wing ablaze. The Lancaster continued its approach but it was difficult to control and overran the runway, crashing in a small wood. The pilot's luck held, the trees tore off the burning wing leaving the fuselage intact. The crew got out safely and saved the pilot who was covered in blood after hitting his head on the instrument panel.

Part of the same intruder force attacked the Halifax aircraft in the landing circuit at Elvington airfield, near York. The German radio had threatened this raid for a long time, even mentioning the Fighting French - who were then operating from Elvington - the threats were soon forgotten and at this period of the war, some precautions were relaxed. Junkers Ju 88s and 188s slipped in with the bomber stream as the Halifaxes returned from a raid against Kamen, a Fisher-Tropsch plant. The Halifax crews had met with very little opposition and were returning triumphantly when they were surprised over their own base.

As the airfield lights came on and the crews switched on their navigation lights, the Luftwaffe pounced. All the airfield lights went out and the Halifax crews were warned by radio to go to their diversion airfields. One Halifax was shot down NW of the airfield, some ran out of fuel and crash landed, while some chose to remain in the air for the all clear, but most managed to land at their diversion airfield at Croft.

The Luftwaffe had a field day, and to hide its embarrassment no figures were ever published by Bomber Command. At the time it was estimated that seventy of our bombers were brought down over England, from the two hundred and ten returning from Kamen. The Luftwaffe lost only seven from the estimated force of seventy. No-one seems to know the real figures but it is certain that they were bad for Bomber Command.

Hull.. Enemy aircraft sprayed numerous cannon shells over a very wide area. There was damage to residential and industrial premises but it was not serious. No casualties were reported.

One of the Luftwaffe casualties was a Junkers Ju 88G, its pilot mistook a cars headlights for a British aircraft on the runway at Elvington in Yorkshire, the Ju 88 hit a large tree during the attack and crashed at Sutton upon Derwent. The crew were all killed.

Night 2009. All times BST. Dimout begins: 19.15, ends: 07.20
Public Alert: 01.07, All-Clear: 02.37

Sunday, 4th/Monday, 5th March 1945  N2010

Raids over the same area as yesterday. No air raid warning was sounded in Newcastle.

Night 2010. All times BST. Dimout begins: 19.17, ends: 07.18

Monday, 5th March 1945  D2011

In freezing fog, a Halifax bomber belonging to the RCAF operating from Linton on Ouse airfield near York, took off with its full bomb and fuel load. It struggled to gain height, but the flying surfaces soon iced up, the added weight was too much and the plane fell out of the sky at 15.00, partially disintegrating in the process. The fuselage fell in the ill-fated Nunthorpe Grove in York (see April 29th 1942) and an engine plummeted into the kitchen of Nunthorpe Secondary School. The wireless operator/air gunner baled out but he was too low and his parachute failed to open properly, luckily an explosion from the crashing bomber was enough to decelerate his fall and he landed heavily on a shed roof, but was seriously injured. The rest of the crew were killed, five civilians were also killed and eighteen injured and another five houses in Nunthorpe Grove were destroyed.

The same freezing fog caused the crash of another Halifax from the same airfield. This one took off at 17.00, and it too tried to get above the bad weather but after circling for a while he iced up and crashed 1 mile S of Hutton le Hole near Kirkbymoorside, Yorkshire, at 17.45, killing the crew of seven.

Day 2011. D-Day + 272. All times BST. Dimout ends: 07.18, begins: 19.19

Tuesday, 13th March 1945  D2019

'SS Taber Park' (2,878t) on a voyage from the Tyne to London was lost near Great Yarmouth, the reason for her inclusion is that she was probably one of the very last ships to sunk on that route during the war.

Day 2019. D-Day + 280. All times BST. Dimout ends: 06.57, begins: 19.35

Wednesday, 14th March 1945  D2020

'SS Magne' (1,226t), a Danish merchantman, was sunk by 'U 714' off St Abbs Head at 55°51'12"N - 01°55'24"W.

After the attack on the 'Magne', 'U 714' was on patrol off St Abbs Head, when she was depth charged and sunk at 55°57'00"N - 01°57'00"W, by the 'Natal', a frigate of the South African Navy, on her maiden voyage from the Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson yard on the Tyne to Scapa Flow and hence to Tobermory, Isle of Mull. The 'Natal' was offering assistance to the destroyer 'HMS Wivern', which was standing by the survivors of the 'Magne', when her ASDIC (Sonar) detected the submarine. 'Natal' made two depth-charge runs on this contact after which wreckage and light oil came to the surface and the ASDIC contact vanished. It was assumed and later confirmed that the U-boat had gone straight to the bottom.

Day 2020. D-Day + 281. All times BST. Dimout ends: 06.55, begins: 19.37

Saturday, 17th/Sunday, 18th March 1945  N2023

Hull.. The last civilian casualties caused by bombs from a piloted enemy aircraft are believed to have been at Hull on this last air raid on the city. Crossing the coast near Scarborough, the raiders deepest penetration was to the Thirsk area, but the most serious damage was done at Hull where thirty-seven SD.10 bombs and thirty-seven SD.19 bombs were dropped in the Holderness Road, Morrill Street and Holland Street area. Damage was not serious, the area of the incidents being given as industrial, but twelve people were killed and twenty-two seriously injured.

This is a direct quote from David Holding's book 'History of British Bus Services - The North East': "It is perhaps not widely appreciated how badly Hull suffered during the war." G.M. O'Connell - an invaluable source - writes 'The heavy raids of May 1941 were numbered at about 200 in the series of alerts (ie when sirens required to be sounded) which commenced with No 1 on 3 September 1939;...Hull's alerts eventually totalled 815! The Germans quite evidently realised that, amongst other things, the bulk of the Russian convoys originated at Hull. 'Raids were heaviest in May and July 1941. Buses were diverted to side streets to avoid craters and unexploded bombs, short journeys were operated on both buses and trams because of damage and destruction of overhead equipment. Shuttle bus services were instituted, notices of changed services had to be chalked up on notice boards, buildings, and on the pavements'. At the same time much of the overhead line was destroyed together with 38 traction poles. Both the Cottingham Road garage and the headquarters adjoining Ferensway were severely damaged, with the loss of 44 buses; however, the Corporation was able as a result to secure 50 of the elusive utility buses, which then constituted half the diesel fleet.

To minimise the risk of losses ... all rolling stock not under repair was parked overnight along the main roads on the city outskirts (motor buses in the parks). Instructions were received from higher authority that it was allegedly possible on moonlight nights to see from the air the lines of vehicles by reason of their predominantly white fronts, they should be repainted: this was expeditiously achieved by overpainting the white fronts with blue undercoating ... As late as 17 March 1945 12 people were killed and injured outside an East Hull cinema. The remarkable thing about this particular incident was that two fully laden trolley buses would have passed each other as the bombs fell but for the fact that both drivers had premonitions and did not leave their previous stopping places although signalled to do so by their respective conductors.

By contrast East Yorkshire (Motor Services) suffered relatively little. The traffic offices, close to Paragon Station, were bombed and moved permanently to Anlaby Road.....".

Night 2023. All times BST. Dimout begins: 19.43, ends: 06.45
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 21.36, All Clear: 22.30

Monday, 19th March 1945  D2025

'SS Crichtoun' (1,097t) on a voyage from Leith to London and 'SS Rogate' (2,871t) on a voyage from Sunderland to London, were probably the last two ships to be sunk by E-Boats, on the east coast route. They were both sunk off Lowestoft.

Day 2025. D-Day + 286. All times BST. Dimout ends: 06.42, begins: 19.46

Tuesday, 20th/Wednesday, 21st March 1945  N2026

Last hostile operations by enemy manned aircraft over Britain. Ten enemy aircraft which operated over Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Suffolk and Essex, but little damage was reported.

Night 2026. All times BST. Dimout begins: 19.48, ends: 06.38

Tuesday, 27th March 1945  D2033

Last V2 to land in Britain - No 1115 on Orpington, Kent, at 16.54. The last person to be killed in Britain by enemy action: Mrs Ivy Mildred Millichamp, aged 34 years, of 88 Kynaston Road, Orpington.

Day 2033. D-Day + 294. All times BST. Dimout ends: 06.22, begins: 20.02

Thursday, 29th March 1945  D2035

Last two V1s to land in Britain- on Datchworth, Hertfordshire and Iwade, Kent.

Day 2035. D-Day + 296. All times BST. Dimout ends: 06.17, begins: 20.06

Friday, 30th March 1945  D2036

'SS Jim' (833t) bound for Dieppe was sunk, possibly, by a German midget submarine off Aldeburgh.

Day 2036. D-Day + 297. All times BST. Dimout ends: 06.15, begins: 20.08

Thursday, 5th April 1945  D2042

'SS Gasray' (1,406t) on a voyage from Grangemouth to Blyth was sunk by German aircraft, off St Abbs Head.

Day 2042. D-Day + 303. All times DST. Dimout ends: 07.00, begins: 21.19

Monday, 16th April 1945  D2053

The tanker 'Athelduke' (8,966t) was in convoy F584, when E of the Longstone, Farnes she was sunk by U 1274 at 55°36'23"N - 01°40'51"W. She lies in deep water, it is 225ft to the deck. She was voyaging from Port Everglades to Hull.

The above mentioned U Boat, U 1274 was depth charged and sunk in the North Sea, by the destroyer 'HMS Viceroy' at 55°36'40"N - 01°24'30"W.

Day 2053. D-Day + 314. All times DST. Dimout ends: 06.32, begins: 21.41

Monday, 23rd April 1945  D2060

All restrictions on the display of lights from shops and houses will end today, except for a belt five miles wide around the coast, within this belt where blackout rules still exist, they will continue, otherwise it will be dim-out as at present. Street lighting will not be affected because Local Authorities have asked, as in previous war years, to put out lights on 1st May for the period of Double Summer Time (for fuel economy). They have been asked to prepare for full street lighting from 15th July next.

Day 2060. D-Day + 321. All times DST.
Coastal dimout ends: 06.15, begins: 21.55

Thursday, 26th April 1945  D2063

All restrictions on the interior lighting of tramcars, trolley vehicles and public service vehicles are removed except in coastal areas.

Day 2063. D-Day + 324. All times DST.
Coastal dimout ends: 06.08, begins: 22.00

Friday, 27th April 1945  D2064

It was announced that gas-masks held by the public should be preserved until instructions are given for their disposal.

Day 2064. D-Day + 325. All times DST.
Coastal dimout ends: 06.06, begins: 22.02

Monday, 30th April 1945  D2067

All anti-gas precautions may be relaxed from today.

Day 2067. D-Day + 328. All times DST.
Coastal dimout ends: 06.00, begins: 22.08

Wednesday, 2nd May 1945  D2069

Hull trawler 'Ebor Wyke' lost off Iceland, possibly sunk by a U Boat.

Eight workers were killed in an explosion at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Aycliffe (ROF 59). They were Isabella Bailey, Elsie Barrett, James Bunton, William Clark Hobson, William Mitchell, Christopher Seagrave, Edmund Smith and Alice Wilson.

Day 2069. D-Day + 330. All times DST.
Coastal dimout ends: 05.55, begins: 22.12

Monday, 7th May 1945  D2074

'SS Avondale Park' (2,878t) cargo ship, Hull to Belfast, was sunk by U 2336 in the Firth of Forth.

Air raid siren tests in Newcastle to cease from today because insurance against electrical failure has a clause that allows cancellation and partial refund when hostilities cease.

Day 2074. D-Day + 335. All times DST.
Coastal dimout ends: 05.15, begins: 22.51

Tuesday, 8th May 1945  D2075

Proclamation of the end of the war in Europe read by Lord Mayor in St. Nicholas' Square, Newcastle, followed by bonfires and floodlighting of buildings.

Day 2075. VE Day. All times DST.
Coastal Dimout ends: 05.13, begins: 22.53

Thursday, 10th May 1945  D2077

The black-out regulations in the coastal regions was lifted. The end of a long list of Defence Regulations was also announced in the House of Commons, including the one which made it an offence to spread alarm and despondency.

Day 2077. All times DST.
Coastal dimout ends: 05.09, begins: 22.57

Sunday, 13th May 1945  D2080

Victory parade in Newcastle.

Day 2080. All times DST

Thursday, 31st May 1945  D2098

Twenty-three merchant ships arrived in the Clyde, the final Russian convoy. This was the last of 75 convoys comprising of 1,500 merchant ships that were escorted to and from North Russia by the Royal Navy's Home Fleet, who also had to provide air cover for them.

Day 2098. All times DST.

Tuesday, 10th July 1945  D2138

Hull trawler 'Kurd' mined off the Lizard.

Day 2138. All times DST.

Monday, 16th July 1945  D2144

German submarine U776 visited Newcastle Quayside.

Day 2144, All times BST.

Wednesday, 15th August 1945  D2174

Proclamation of the end of the war read by Lord Mayor in St. Nicholas' Square, Newcastle. Lord Mayor lit a 100-ton bonfire on Cowhill on the Town Moor.

Day 2174, All times BST.

Sunday, 26th August 1945  D2185

100,000 crowd watched Victory Parade in Newcastle.

Day 2185, All times BST.

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