Elizabeth Wilson, Miss Alice Robinson and Lawrence Westwood

Wilson Elizabethpoppy

Aged 68. Date of Death 30th October 1940. Widow of W Wilson. Died at 2 Ribble Lane, Chatburn. Killed in the bombing of the village.

Miss Alice Robinson

Date of death 30th October, 1940. Died as a result of her injuries sustained during the bombing. Aged 53.

Westwood Lawrence Austia Naughton.

Aged 26. Son of Mr and Mrs Westwood, Clifton, York. Husband of Elsie Westwood of 22 Upper Newboro Street, Burton Stone Lane, York. Died at Crow Tree's Brow, Chatburn as his tanker that he was driving was badly hit.

On the 30th October 1940 two German bombs were dropped on Chatburn killing Elizabeth Wilson, Lawrence Westwood and a Miss Alice Robinson who was also died as a result of her injuries along with others injured. The Post Office was hit and serious damage to the A59 and other parts of the village. We understand that Mr Westwood was driving a petrol tanker along with other similar tankers going through Chatburn.

Information taken from Clitheroe Advertiser and Times Friday November 1st 1940.

Bombs on North West Village. Daylight Raid.

Two bombs were dropped on a North West village on Wednesday afternoon killing two people, gravely injuring two more and a number of others received minor injuries. The gravely injured residents are Miss Alice Robinson (53) whose house was demolished and Elijah Halstead (62) who received injuries about the head and eyes when his cottage was damaged. Both are in hospital.

Among others detained in hospital on Wednesday night were: Mrs Graham Wood, Miss Taylor, Mrs Walton,Walter Forrest and Jean Wignall, while others were allowed to go home after receiving treatment were Mrs.W Hartley, Mrs. E. Monk, Mrs Arthur, Mrs Harwood, Robert W Graham and Emma Leigh. A further dozen villagers who received minor injuries were treated by first-aid parties on the spot.

Markings Plainly Seen.

The raider flew extemely low so that the German markings were at once observed. It circled the village and then returned, dropping two bombs which several people saw fall from the plane. One of them struck a house at the foot of a brow, completely demolishing it and severely injuring the solitary occupant, Miss Robinson. The second bomb fell squarely in the roadway between two rows of stone built houses. Walls were cracked, roofing torn away and many windows were shattered. Several casualties occured in this neighbourhood. The village A.R.P workers went at once into action and within a few minutes their efforts were supplemented by A.R.P. squads from a neighbourhood centre. Many people were not members of the air raid services joined in the work of helping the injured.

The fire fighting party tackled the flames which shot from a petrol tanker which was flung off the main road into a drive. Blazing petrol ran from the tanker into the debris which had fallen from the demolished house and some time elapsed before the blaze was got completely under control. The village fire fighters were quickly reinforced by another brigade and no effort was spared to control the outbreak. Fragments of the bombs, together with flying masonry, pitted adjacent property, and one house, occupied by Mr. Fred Webster, suffered rather severely in this way. A small outbreak of fire which occured there, was quickly put out.

House Demolished

Mrs Webster told a reporter that she was in her garden only a few yards from the house which was demolished when the raider first appeared. " It seemed to be coming staright for me," she said "It was flying very low and was a terrifying sight. I saw the bombs dropped and one of them hit Miss Robinson's house. It was there one second and had completely disappeared in the next."

Another building to receive heavy damage was the village Post Office which caught the force of both bombs. Much of the roof was stripped, masonry was dislodged and everything in the shop itself was thrown into confusion.The Postmaster was struck by glass and received head injuries whilst his two daughters also sustained cuts. The wife of the Postmaster, was in another part of the house escaped unhurt.

The row of houses between which the second bomb fell, were heavily damaged, and another group of houses near the bottom of a hill also got the full force of one bomb. Windows were shattered, the roofs were pierced and, in many instances furniture was damaged and flung about the rooms. Minor casulaties were sustained. Another effect of the bomb which fell in the street was to fracture gas and water mains and to snap electric cables, whilst telephone wires were torn down by one of the missiles. Thus for some time the village lacked essential services, but these were quickly restored by A.R.P. and repair squads.

Windows at the Methodist Chapel and some even further away were smashed but the village school which was nearer the scene was untouched.The headmaster and his assistant alike paid tribute to the coolness of the children stating that at the first hint of danger the scholars dived under their desks, as they had been taught in air raid practices. It was only on Tuesday that the school windows were protected with wire netting.

Almost "Skimmed" Roofs.

The roof of a garage was pierced by a bomb fragment which also went through the top of a car. Among the first helpers in dealing with the wounded were the vicar and the Methodist Minister. Both spoke of the courage and the fortitude shown by the injured people. The village constable, who was an eye-witness of the whole occurrence, told a reporter that the raider practically skimmed the tops of the houses, and he said emphatically that he distinctly heard machine-gun fire. This statement is confirmed by other observers, but nobody was hurt in this way. The constable also mentioned that he heard rifle shots, and it transpired that these came from several soldiers who were on road duty in the vicinity.

People whose homes were rendered uninhabitable were at once offered shelter by the more fortunate villagers, and every help was given in salvaging treasured articles from damaged buildings. As far as possible, appertures were covered against the effects of the weather; but this could not be done everywhere. The contents of a grocer's shop were removed so that no food value should be lost. The work of repair and of removing furniture and other household articles continued thoughout yesterday, when the utilities services were also put into full commission again.

Heard Miles Away

People who were working in the district several miles away report seeing the approach of the raider. Nurse Teece said she was at the door of her house and, seeing German markings on the plane, threw herself to the ground and shouted to farm workers in a nearby field "Get down!" they will machine gun you!" Passengers in a bus clearly felt the shock of the explosions, and the conductor of another bus said the plane appeared to follow him for some distance.

A prominent local resident said the highest possible praise must be given to the villagers for the courageous way in which they faced the ordeal.

Village neighbourliness has never been more effectively demonstrated as people whose homes were wrecked were at once offered shelter, and other assistance. The A.R.P workers generally responded with wonderful efficiency and zeal, and great credit is due to the doctors from the neighbourhood and to the staff at the local infirmary who rose magnificently to the occasion. One who saw almost the whole of the proceedings, said the villagers remained unafraid, but they were full of fury at the insensate, cold-blooded attack.

Personal Incidents

I was standing at the door of my house when I saw the raider approaching said Mr Yates, Commander of a section of the Home Guards. " I saw him turn to commence his dive and realising that it was an enemy machine I shouted to my wife to take cover. Several windows and the door of my house were open and to this I attribute that my house was the only one in the row with the windows intact. Members of the Home Guard gave valuable assitance in the removal of furniture and took charge of arrangements for billeting families, whose homes suffered damage. A list of offers of shelter has been placed on the door of the Guard Room, one farmer in a nearby village volunteering to take 20 people.

In spite of their own difficulties the women who had to leave their homes did not forget the soldiers and A.R.P workers and yesterday were providing them with hot drinks and food as they toiled amongst the wreckage. A Union Jack fluttered bravely from the wall of one bombed house yesterday and soldiers assisted in the work of removing furniture. As two soldiers laboured to move a heavy table through a doorway the drawers fell out, their contents littering the floor. "Ah well, I've no secrets now", said the owner.

We have several paper photographs and been put on another page also relating to the Chatburn Bombing.

Why would a German Plane bomb a small village such as Chatburn? Was he after the tanker and just picked an easy target! Was he looking for the Royal Engineers at Low Moor -Mill!

The plane observed was a Heinkel 111. Let's hope our Air force or gunners got him on the way back!