Chrismas Eve V1 "Doodlebug" raid on Manchester

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Extracted from my Web site ..........

On Christmas Eve 1944, a formation of specially configured HE-111 Heinkel bombers (I/KG53 squadron) flying over the North Sea launched 45 V1 Flying Bombs (Doodlebugs) aimed at Manchester 31 of which reached the target area. Fifteen fell on Manchester, the remainder impacting in surrounding towns and sparsely populated outlying areas BBC Report -- Doodlebug attack on Manchester

One hit a row of terrace houses in nearby Oldham killing 37 people, including some evacuees from London, and seriously wounding many others. The blast damaged hundreds of nearby homes.

Six people died when one landed on Chapel Street, Tottington, near Bury.

One V1 that impacted near Oswaldtwistle carried a load of propaganda leaflets. Leaflets from these V1s were also found at Brindle, near Manchester and Huddersfield, Yorkshire. I believe the V1 that flew directly over our house was the one that impacted at Oswaldtwistle.

One of the errant V1s impacted in a farmer's field at Gregson Lane near Bamber Bridge just outside Preston. This crash site has recently been examined and recorded by the Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team (V1 Gregson Lane 24.12.1944).

This V1 raid was a rude Christmas Eve shock for all of us in the Manchester area, for local officials had been hinting that the danger from air raids was was pretty much over for us in the North. D-Day had heightened the expectation that the war was winding down, besides, the unexpected V1 raids had been directed against London. Certainly none of us expected an air raid siren alert followed by the sound of Doodlebugs chugging across Lancashire skies during that Christmas of 1944! This V1 raid on Manchester occurred exactly four years after the first major Air Raid on the city -- the horrendous firestorm Blitz of Christmas 1940.

Evidently a large number of V1s were loaded with propaganda leaflets. This subject is covered in meticulous detail by Herbert A. Friedman in his Web page article The German V1 Rocket Leaflet Campaign. This fascinating article explains how the leaflets were stored and dispersed and includes an impressive number of V1 related photographic images and numerous actual propaganda leaflet reproductions. It is also a treasure trove of V1 Flying Bomb information.

The British government was pretty secretive about V1 impact sites for they did not want the Germans to know the number of those that reached the target area and exactly where they had fallen.

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