Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have always had an interest in World War Two. As children we grew up watching exciting WWII films as well as the wonderful Dads Army comedy. But other than stories told by Grandparents, the war seemed so far away. It was all fought abroad wasn't it? We didn't see it here? But as we have started to research the subject on a local scale, we have realised that the War did indeed reach Lancashire more than just rationing and the "war effort".

 

There are little bits of hidden history all over the place. Active sites set up to fight the enemy such as Anti Aircraft Guns and Searchlights, working sites such as POW camps, and hidden sites such as Small Arms Dumps, Pillboxes  and secret defence hordes. Plus decoy sites, bomb sites and even defended factories. Many of these still remain in some form today.

 

SAM_0652 (640x480) WWII 2 (640x480) Prestwich WW2 007 (800x450)

World War Two Sites

095 (427x640) 052 (640x480) Mario Map 40s POW camp Oswaldtwistle Greenmount WW2 009 (640x480) 019 (640x480) 032 (640x360) 027 (360x640) 079 (640x480) 058 (640x480)

Home Guard - small arms stores

A defensive Gun Nest? A forgotten building near Blackley, Manchester

This building looks, to the uneducated eye, like another public toilet. An entrance at each end - and a row of cubicles? Are those vents? Are they old windows? Why is there a section of brick behind them at an angle....wait a minute....they are for guns! This is not a toilet or a air raid shelter. This is a defensive building. But why?....

READ ON HERE. CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS.

Prisoner Of War & Internment Camps

Searchlight Battery and Ack Ack (Anti Aircraft) Guns

An RAF training camp in Heaton Park, Manchester

Road blocks, checkpoints and Home Guard activity

INVASION - Our last line of defence? - Pillboxes

Bomb sites - V1 Rocket bomb damage - The Nazi's most feared weapon landed in Lancashire and other local bomb sites

061 (640x480) 006 (396x640) Oswaldtwistle Mills 068 (640x480)

In fields and park lands across the country there is still evidence of the fight against the enemy bombers. Searchlight sites and Anti-Aircraft gun sites around Lancashire

 

MORE INFORMATION AND OTHER SITES CLICK HERE

Heaton Park, one of the largest parks in Europe had another life during WW2 - It was an RAF training base. It had searchlights and Anti Aircraft guns to protect it. But the Germans knew all about it!

It was also used in WW1 as a training camp.

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PHOTOS

The last line of defence? Or everyday obstacles in place in case of some sort of invasion? The sort of lumps of concrete you don't give a second thought about - until you realise what they are there for!

MORE INFORMATION AND PHOTOS HERE

On Christmas Eve 1944 a V2 rocket landed on a row of terrace houses in Tottington, Bury. Leaving seven dead for no apparent reason. It is amazing to think that in the 1940's weapons could be launched from so far away that could cause so much damage and fear. Today, this site is a memorial garden to those who lost their lives. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

462 (640x480) 066 (640x480) 437 (640x480)

Ghost Signs

443 (640x480)

Decoy Sites

What were people doing up on the Moors around Lancashire lighting fires and showing lights on purpose? The story of Starfish sites and other similar projects is little known. But there is still evidence of this secret war all around us.     CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PHOTOS

067 (800x600) Tommy Gun Mellor

Auxiliary Units were effectively a “secret army”, trained to give covert resistance if Britain was invaded by the Germans. They would operate in the area where the occupying army was and participate in guerilla like tactics. Drawn from all walks of civilian life, they would be expected to attack military vehicles, destroy ammunition dumps, wreck railway tracks and disable enemy aircraft that were on the ground.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION -

CLICK HERE

062 (640x587) 002 (640x480) 098 (480x640)

The relics of Second World War airfields

172 (640x480) 149 (640x480)

Stop Line Number 14 on the Leeds - Liverpool Canal 

 

Near Ormskirk, around Burscough. Pillboxes, fortified houses, fortified barns, fortified pubs, Anti - tank traps, it has the lot!

193 (552x640) 112 (640x480)

Some people think they were Air Raid Shelters and they are similar to some surface shelters. But those shelters are usually much larger and don't aways have a blast wall shielding the door. You wouldn't fit many people in these. There are similar buildings on airfields where they were Small Arms Dumps/Stores. They are next to main roads. Easily viewed and not particularly hidden. Neither is on any land belonging to a house or any other building. There are a few houses nearby - but would they all try and fit in if there was an air raid?

It is perhaps hard to imagine now, but there was a time when invasion by Nazi Germany seemed inevitable. We were losing the war. We were largely on our own (America had not yet joined the cause). As the Battle Of Britain seemed to be on the brink of collapse with huge losses to our air defence and the retreat from Europe at Dunkirk, Britain prepared itself for invasion. "Never Surrender" Churchill said, and so we built defensive structures all over the country not just around London and the South Coast. This was going to be a battle to the death involving guerilla tactics and terrorist-like thinking. Plans were in place to fight to the last man and woman, like the French Resistance had done.

image3 071 (640x480) 035 (640x480) 018 (640x480) 088 (600x800) 015 (640x480) 010 (640x480) 056 (480x640) SAM_3070 (640x480) SAM_2852 (640x480) Wendsleydale 2 - 2 (640x480) Risley 13 - 14 (2) (640x480) 023 (640x480) SAM_2263 (640x480) SAM_1098 (640x480) SAM_2179 (640x480) SAM_2016 (640x480) SAM_2131 (640x480) SAM_2977 (640x480) Bowlee Police photo

 

Two parachute mines were dropped on Stubbins causing extensive damage

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

World War Two air raid shelters came in all shapes and sizes. If you look carefully there are still some to see today. Hidden in caves, in Public Parks, outside schools, in back streets....CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME EXAMPLES

Air Raid Shelters

232 (640x480)

Anti-Glider trenches in Accrington

Spigot Mortar site at Hapton

Miscellaneous Curiosities

Leyland tank 2

Torpedos and The Sound of Music, Tank production, crashed bomber memorials, hidden rooms, Home Guard maps....

 

Things that do not fit anywhere else

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE STORIES

Barrage Balloon Sites

002 (480x640) 013 (480x640)

Firewatchers

SAM_3002 (640x480)

Railways in WW2

Lost WW2 Airfields page CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

SAM_1244 (640x480)

Museums - pages coming soon