Excuse me but where is Middlesbrough?
Walk from North Ormesby
Sources and Resources
Only a Short Time in History
Memories of Parliament Road
Football on the Roof
St Patrick's Church
The Tees (Newport) Bridge
Don't Mention the War?
Laws Street Block
Albert Park and 'Owld 'Enry
An Ayresome Childhood
St Paul's School
Victoria St/Greta St Now
The 'New' Newport School
Newport Bombing 15 April 1942
Closing of St Paul's School
More Memories of Parliament Rd.
Round and About King George Street
Memories of Duncombe Street
Honeymans of Cannon Street
Sun Sea & Sand
Fox Heads Page 1
Why DOGGY Town??
Fox Heads Page 2
Memories of St Paul's
A Mohawk in Middlesbrough
Remembering Craven Street
Marsh Road School
Luftwaffe Over Middlesbrough
First World War Shell Explodes in Middlesbrough
Queries:Can You Help?
St Columba's Parish in the Sixties
More Street Games
Memories Baxter Street
Judith's Middlesbrough Childhood
Links for Newport, Middlesbrough
Bombing of a 'North-East Industrial Town'
|The Newport area was badly hit in an air raid on the night of the 15/16th April 1942. A stick of four high explosive bombs (HE) were dropped.
The first hit just to the rear of the north side of Carlow Street at the entrance to the recreation ground on Ayresome Grange Road. Fred Maughan, writing on another page on this website remembers that, for a long time after, a patch of grass grew through the thin layer tarmac covering the crater. This bomb killed one young man in Carlow Street.
Orwell St/Mills St
The second hit Mills St/Orwell St.. This bomb fell into a house.The fatalities were in 24 Orwell St and 23,25 and 27 Mills St. Ruth, formerly of Orwell St, remembers a few of the houses which backed onto Mill St , were newer, built in the 'council house' style. Ruth's friend lived in one such house ,number 36, and this friend's parents confirmed that the original house had been damaged by bombing. According to the Airwarden's report 2 people were killed in Orwell St and 7 in Mills St.
Laws St/Booth St
The third hit the Laws Street block. It landed in the street at the junction of Booth St with Laws St. It shattered the road, severing gas, sewage and water pipes. The gas ignited. The fatalities lived in numbers 50,52,56 and 58 Laws St and 37 and 39 Booth St.
The Fourth Bomb
he A.R.P report states that the fourth bomb fell on the open land of the "Newport Recreation ground" .Continuing the 'bomb line' suggests this ,in fact, was the open land between Cooper St and the approach bridge to the Tees(Newport)Bridge, the area some of us knew as Cooper Common. However I was unable to find anyone who remembered a bomb hitting here.
A second stick of HEs fell into the river and thus caused no further damage
The Forgotten Raid?
|One remarkable thing about the air-raid of 15th/16th April 1942 is how relatively unremembered it is. For example,the publication Middlesbrough at War:The Home Front only mentions two raids in 1942 , the 26th of July which is described as ‘intensive’ and the 3rd of August (Bank Holiday) when Middlesbrough railway station was hit.* Yet more people were killed in the 15/16 April raid than in those two raids combined.(On the next day the Gazette reported 19 deaths but the final count rose to 27)
* An honourable exception is Aviation Historian, Bill Norman who details the raid in his book Luftwaffe over the North
extent of damage to Laws Street block
Newport Methodist Church Destroyed
|The only public building damaged was the Newport Methodist Church in Orwell Street which had to be closed never to reopen. The rest of the quite extensive damage was to houses. No commercial properties were damaged and the area was well outside of the commercial centre of the town. Perhaps this is why it is almost the ‘forgotten’ air raid despite the fact that the night of 15th/16th April accounts for more than a third of the town’s bombing fatalities and, as regards loss of life, was Middlesbrough’s most severe raid.
In addition there was a considerable number of people injured. Many houses were made uninhabitable. Fred Maughan, who lived in Hanson St remembers his brother being taken to the then Holgate Hospital with a shard of glass in his back. Temporarily the family had to move in with an aunt. Many of the houses in Laws Street, Booth St and even a section of Cooper St simply were not replaced or repaired. The space stood out like a prominent scar until the demolition of the whole area in the sixties and seventies.
Damage to Laws Street
(photo courtesy: J Todd)
The Evening Gazette Report
The Evening Gazette reported the attack but had to do so according to the censorship restrictions so was only able to refer to a North-East industrial town. ( On the same night, Saltburn also was bombed with one fatality. The Gazette could only identify Saltburn as a 'Coastal Town')
Evening Gazette Thursday,April 16,1942
Many Casualties in Raid on North-East Town
Casualties in last night’s bombing of a North-East industrial town , include some 19 killed and a large number injured, several of whom were detained in hospital. More people were treated at local hospitals and others at first-aid posts.
In one instance there was a direct hit on a house. In another the bomb fell on to a narrow street and demolished houses on either side. A 24-inch gas main was severed and the gas was ignited.
In spite of the added danger firemen, gasworks employees, rescue and demolition squads worked without respite. One working man stood a picture of agonised grief ,while one member after another of his family was brought out of the wreckage dead.
Among the killed are five babies, and it is understood , their mothers are also among the victims.
Search is still being made for people reported missing including the mother of a Corporation A.R.P. official. A large number of people are temporarily homeless.
Saved by Shelters
The arrival of the first raider was so sudden that only a small number of people had been able to get into the shelters. Those who did were safe. Some shelters were scarred and cracked but even where close to wrecked houses none collapsed as did the houses.
(continued on back page)
back page North-East Raid
Parents were taking children and aged people to shelter when the bombs fell. Many suffered from flying glass and masonry. In a congested area many houses were damaged. Not a scrap of usable furniture or other household equipment was to be found.today in lots of houses.
Slates, tiles and glass were scattered and soot-covered people were seeking to do the best they could in the circumstances.
They were cheerful in spite of it all. “We shall surely be given an extra soap ration for all this,” remarked one grimy housewife.
From all sides nothing but praise was accorded the civil defence services. People deprived of homes were accommodated in emergency sleeping and feeding centres and all night a mobile canteen has played a useful part.
Everything worked smoothly at the emergency centres. Many people arrived in their night clothes. One man had wrapped himself in a blanket. Hot drinks were available at once , and, after a night’s rest, people were today fitted out with clothing provided for such emergencies from American and London sources.
A man whose employment is important was roused, fitted out,fed, clothed and provided with meals for the day in time to get away to work at 6 a.m.
A large number of people were temporarily homeless. Many made arrangements to stay with friends and relatives. Others were looked after by voluntary workers.
Much favourable comment is being heard about the viciousness of the defence of the district. Anti-aircraft gunfire was especially heavy at times.
A bomb which fell in an open space about 30 yards from a row of houses caused a huge crater. Death came suddenly to a number of people including a family of six.
Buried in Debris
People in bed were buried in debris whilst others were just preparing to go the shelters. Several people were rescued including an old man who was trapped under debris over an hour. When rescue workers dragged him out he smiled and remarked,
“Look after the others.I’m all right.” He was more concerned about the loss of his pipe than his injuries.
Among the dead are three children ---Dorothy Smithson (18 months) Vincent ----(3) Tony Rea (2) and a 16 year old boy Brian Taylor.
Many people had miraculous escapes. Only the dividing wall remained of one house
In which a family of seven lived , but all escaped without injury except the father Thomas Sunley who received cuts to the head.
Thomas Pelgate a corporation electricity workman who was in bed when a bomb fell 12 yards away, said he was blown out of bed and received a nasty cut on the head from flying glass.
Another man, Albert Lowe was getting up when he was blown on to the landing.
Luftwaffe Over the North: Bill Norman.Lee Cooper isbn 085052 233 1
Places of Worship in Middlesbrough: Paul Stephenson:Middlesbrough Libraries and Information isbn 1-904683-12-6
Special thanks to Bill Norman for his advice and information from his files.
Thanks also to the brilliant staff of Redcar Reference Library for helping me locate the Gazette report
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