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1940 (17 Jan) Frederick Hill, known as Fred Hill or Freddie Hill, English international footballer, born in Sheffield, England.                                       Inside forward. Scored 74 goals in 375 appearances for Bolton Wanderers between 1959 and 1967.

1940 (21 Jan) Hans Kohn and Magda Koenigova, both from Czechoslovakia and recent refugees from the Third Reich, married at the Synagogue in Wentworth St, Bolton. [Bolton 8c 1019 Mar 1940]

Rev Richards officiated, and there was a reception in the Synagogue Rooms, with a presentation to the couple by Mr Morris Glazier on behalf of the Congregation.


1940 (2 May) King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Horwich on May 2nd 1940


1940 (2 Mar) Harvey Brian Lisberg, English music and sporting manager and impresario, best known for discovering Herman's Hermits in 1963, born in Manchester, UK, to Violet (née Sternberg) and Judah Lisberg, into a Jewish family.

1940 (10 May) Following the German invasion of France on 10 May 1940, the 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment was sent to help the French but came under attack from the advancing Panzer divisions, and Don Howe was lucky to make it back to the French port of Dunkirk where he was rescued by a British ship.


1940 (12 May) Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of France


1940 (21 May) Sir John Haslam (1878-1940), MP for Bolton, died


1940 (May) Capt Noel Hall Wood won the Military Cross at Tournai, Belgium.

1940 (5 Jul) Brian Iddon, British Labour Party politician, born in Tarleton, Lancashire

MP for Bolton South East from 1997-2010


1940 (1 Sep) ARP Warden John German carried out his duties whilst injured himself during the bombing of Deane (>22 Oct 1940)


1940 (22 Oct) ARP Warden John German became the first Boltonian to be awarded the George Medal


Bolton's War Weapons week 1940 aimed to raise £1,000,000.


1940 (18 Nov) John Boulter, British middle-distance runner, born in Colchester.                                                                                        He competed in the men's 800 metres at the 1964 Summer Olympics.           Affiliations: Bolton Harriers, Bolton (GBR) / Achilles Club, (GBR)


1940 (29 Nov) Dame Janet Hilary Smith, British judge and former President of the Council of the Inns of Court

Educated at Bolton School.


1940 (30 Nov) Edmund Aspinall (1858-1940) - Mayor of Bolton: 1923-24 (Conservative), died at Vesperholme, Chorley New Road, Bolton 30 November 1940


1940 The 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment was sent to help the French but came under attack from the advancing Panzer divisions. Ray Westwood, Harry Goslin, Don Howe, Ernie Forrest, Jack Hurst and Stan Hanson were lucky to make it back to the French port of Dunkirk where they were rescued by British ships


1940 Bolton received a bequest of forty paintings, sculptures and drawings from Frank Hindley Smith, a Bolton mill owner.

These works were by important artists such as Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and William Etty and formed the nucleus on which the collection has since been built


1940 The Cotton Board was an organisation to oversee the organisation, research, marketing and promoting the cotton textile industry mainly based in Lancashire and Glasgow. It existed from 1940, and as a statutory Industrial Development Board from 1948 to 1972.  


1940 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II ( AO QUERY) visited Horwich in recognition of the town’s contribution to the war effort


1940 The nine piece “Ivy Benson and her Rhythm Girls” was formed for an all-girl revue “Meet the Girls” starring the comedienne Hylda Baker.


1940s Harry Allen ran at least three pubs, the Rawsons Arms in Peel Street, Farnworth, near Bolton, 11 miles from Oldham, a Burtonwood pub nicknamed “the Stump”, in the 1940s (Allen’s Farnworth pub is sometimes given incorrectly, as the Rope and Anchor: I’m not sure there WAS a Rope and Anchor in Farnworth);


1940s-1950s Harry Allen (1911-1992) became a publican in Farnworth, Lancashire in the 1940s, combining his role as executioner with running the pub, which he ran until the early 1950s when he took over another pub, the Junction Inn, on Higher Lane in Whitefield

1940-1941 The 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment spent the rest of 1940 and the whole of 1941 at various army camps around Britain, they spent their time building coastal defence constructions, manning anti-aircraft batteries and patrolling potential enemy landing sites all along the East Anglia coastline, variously stationed at Beccles, Nacton, and Holt. This enabled them to play the occasional match for Bolton Wanderers in the North-East League. The team that year included; Jack Atkinson, Ernie Forrest, Stan Hanson, Don Howe, Harry Hubbick, George Hunt, Jack Hurst, Billy Ithell, Danny Winter, Albert Geldard, Jackie Roberts, Walter Sidebottom, Tommy Sinclair, and Ray Westwood.


1940-1943 John Miller Andrews – Prime Minister of Northern Ireland


1940-1945 Sir Edward Cecil George Cadogan - MP for Bolton.


1941 (1 Mar) Warwick Rimmer, English former professional football player and coach, born in Birkenhead.


1941 Bolton aquarium opened

One of Britain’s oldest public aquaria.


1941 90 motor buses loaned by Manchester Corporation to London Passenger Transport Board and 182 to other undertakings for the war period. Bolton Corporation loans 24 and North Western also loan buses to London.


1941 Willard Alexander Sandys-Clarke married Dorothy Irene Deakin at the United Reform Church Belmont, Lancashire

They lived in Egerton, near Bolton.


1941 (9  Jan) Bomb Damage on Ashburner Street Market and Air Raid Shelter 9 January 1941. One man was killed.
The bombs fell either side of the Odeon Cinema which had a full house at the time.
The bonded warehouse behind the Odeon was set on fire


1941 (9 Jan) Bomb Damage on Matthew Street 9 January 1941.
2 people were killed and 6 injured


1941 (2 Mar) George Hunt, Bolton's leading scorer for the last two seasons, was moved to inside-right and replaced at centre-forward by the 15-year-old Lofthouse. Bolton won the game 5-1 with Lofthouse scoring two of the goals.


1941 (22 Mar) Nat Lofthouse made his debut in a wartime 5-1 win against Bury when he scored two goals.


1941 (22 Mar) On 22nd March 1941, George Hunt, the club's leading scorer for the last two seasons, was moved to right-half and replaced at centre-forward by the 15- year-old Nat Lofthouse. Bolton won the game 5-1 with Lofthouse scoring two of the goals. Lofthouse immediately formed a good relationship with his inside-forward, Walter Sidebottom. In the first six games together, they scored 10 goals between them.


1941 (26 Apr) Walter Sidebottom’s final game, as it turned out, was a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on April 26, 1941, in which both he and Lofthouse – working as a Bevin Boy down the mines during the wartime effort – got on the score-sheet.


1941 (May) In May 1941, the battleship Prince of Wales and she were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were en route to the Atlantic, where they were to attack convoys.


1941 (24 May) On 24 May 1941, early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Hood was struck by several German shells, exploded, and sank within 3 minutes, with the loss of all but three of her crew. Due to her perceived invincibility, the loss affected British morale.


Marine Thomas Hall  /  Service Number PO/X 2844                                Died 24/05/1941  /  H.M.S. Hood.  / Royal Marines                            Son of William Henry and Gertrude Alice Hall, of Bolton, Lancashire.


1941 (24 Jul) Anthony Peter Dunne, Irish former footballer, born in Dublin, Ireland.


1941 (15 Aug) Gerard Rowlinson, swimmer, born in Farnworth, Bolton

Swam 200 metres breastroke –Rome Olympics

1941 (12-13 Oct) Bomb Damage on Ardwick Street/Punch Street 12-13 October 1941.
11 people were killed and 64 injured that night


1941 (17 Oct) Sgt Thomas Blackburn, and he was killed on 17 October 1941 flying a Curtiss P40 Tomahawk.

The rear elevation of No.50 Mornington Road collapsed under the impact of the aircraft and the 80 year old owner who was in the backyard at the time had a miraculous escape without injury.


1941 (17 Oct) The crash occurred on 17th October 1941 when the pilot, Sgt Thomas Blackburn, who was from the area, appears to have arranged to fly over his wife’s house, located on the northern edge of Bolton. The official cause of the crash was given on the Form 1180 as  “unauthorised aerobatics + low flying” and the aircraft, an RAF Curtiss Tomahawk (US P-40) fighter, serial No. AK 191, crashed into the roof of No. 50 Mornington Road. Sgt Blackburn was killed in the crash and three people on the ground were lightly injured and required hospital treatment, two of them having been trying to release the pilot from his wrecked aircraft when it burst into flames. Three houses were reported as partly wrecked and several occupants had lucky escapes, if somewhat shocked. The accident and subsequent inquest were covered in some detail in the local newspapers, The Bolton Evening News and the Bolton Journal and Guardian at the time. This was unusual as most such incidents were censored in wartime and copies of the articles were easily traced, as they were indexed in the newspaper cuttings scrapbook at Bolton Library.

Sgt Thomas Blackburn - His grave at Astley Bridge


The pilot, aged 26, had married in July 1939 and volunteered for the RAF after initially registering for the Army at the outbreak of the war. The CWGC records him as having been on the strength of No. 10 Squadron which was based at Leeming, North Yorkshire and equipped with Whitley Vs at this time, but the Form 1180 records the unit as “HQ S.F.S.”, which is somewhat confusing as it doesn’t appear to match any known unit and it seems that it should perhaps read “SFTS”? (Service Flying Training School) though as no base is given this cannot be confirmed. Sgt Blackburn is recorded as having flown 62 hours under Dual control and 94 Solo, but only two of those solo hours were on the Tomahawk. Also, all his flying experience was within the previous six months, indicating he was probably in the later stages of a pilot training program. The flight was supposed to be “circuits and landings” a training exercise which would normally be carried out in the vicinity of the airfield concerned and the Form 1180 does mention that “Flagrant disregard of flying discipline” was shown by flying his off to visit his home – not that this was an unusual occurrence at the time! Though these official comments do appear unduly harsh today, they are by no means unusual in such cases and as the RAF must have been very aware at this time that losses of trained pilots that were all to often resulting from such unauthorised flights and were unaffordable - it may be that this was some official attempt to dissuade pilots from such actions.  However, in this case there does seem to be some discrepancy between the eyewitness accounts appearing in the press and the official line.                                                                                           One newspaper reported:  “The aircraft was seen by hundreds of people as it rapidly lost height, but few imagined the pilot was in real trouble until, with a sudden roll, the plane dropped among the chimney pots of the three houses". Sgt Blackburn’s wife was one of the witnesses and saw a flight of three planes – she watched them all “and none of them did aerobatics”. She also saw the plane crash and although she was expecting her husband to fly over during the day, she was unsure at the time if he had been in any of the aircraft. At the inquest, one witness stated that he saw the plane “turn over and begin to wobble” – it then dived towards the houses, another saw the plane on its back, then right itself before turning over again – he then saw “black smoke from the airplane, which dived into the houses”.  Only one witness is recorded as actually stating that the aircraft gave “a display of aerobatics, just before the crash”, but as he held an “A” Flying Certificate, this was apparently considered sufficient for an RAF officer to be satisfied that “the crash was due to an attempt by Sgt Blackburn to perform an evolution at a low altitude”.

From the front No. 50 Mornington road today shows no evidence of the drama nearly 70 years before.

The rear elevation was rebuilt with almost identical materials and only a join in the brickwork is visible - It is not known if the missing chimney stack was rebuilt or not.

Whatever the truth behind this tragic accident, it should be remembered that throughout WW2 the temptation for pilots to divert from their allotted flight paths to fly over relative's or girlfriend's homes, often indulging in some unofficial aerobatics at the same time, seems to have been irresistible. Perhaps in light of the realities of wartime, where the future must have seemed uncertain and pilots were already risking their lives on a daily basis, any additional danger posed by such antics did not worry them unduly and we should not view such high jinks too harshly. However, all to often they ended in disaster such as here and surely the most tragic of accidents must be those which occurred within sight of the families of the pilots concerned? Sgt Blackburn is buried at Bolton (Astley Bridge) Cemetery, Div. 1 A. Sec. P. C of E. Grave 82.

The Bolton Evening News and Bolton Journal and Guardian at the time made no mention of aerobatics. And it wasn’t his girlfriend who was watching, but his wife of two years, Doris. Although she knew he intended to fly over the town, Doris did not know it was her husband at the helm of the aircraft she watched fall onto Mornington Road.

As for doing aerobatics overhead, the newspaper quotes witnesses at the time. The aircraft “rapidly lost height, but few imagined the pilot was in real trouble until, with a sudden roll, the plane dropped among the chimney pots…”

A delivery driver, a Mr James Dean of Kirkby Road, Bolton, was one of the first on the scene. The Bolton Evening News reported “He tried to release the pilot, and was continuing his efforts when the petrol tank blew up and started a fire. Dean’s boots were blown off and his hair singed. Nothing could be done for the man in the cockpit…”

Doris, still not knowing that the crashed plane was her husband’s, was that afternoon informed at her home by an RAF officer that he had been killed.

Sgt Blackburn served with RAF 10 Squadron. The flight was with the Service Ferry Pool.

1941 (Nov) The final voyage of Empress of Asia began in November 1941, when she sailed from Liverpool carrying troops and supplies bound for Africa, Bombay and Singapore.

1941 ( Dec) Wartime Wanderers football match against King Farouk's team in Cairo December 1941


c. 1941 A new building was opened offering a wide range of technical education choices, with engineering the most popular. Numbers rose to 5,750 students attending more than 1,000 classes.


1942 (4 Feb) The convoy, designated BM.12, had come under an aerial attack in the Bangka Strait on 4 February 1942 and suffered only minor damage.


1942 (5 Feb) On 5 February, as the convoy BM.12 sailed into and entered the western approaches to Singapore, serious fierce attacks were pressed against it by the Japanese military south of the Sultan Shoal Lighthouse. Nine Japanese dive-bombers focused their airborne assault on the Empress of Asia. The second element of the convoy composed of the Empress of Asia, Félix Roussel and the City of Canterbury, escorted by HMAS Yarra and HMS Danae, and sighted vessels in the nearby waters with the Empress of Asia on fire, burning amidships, approaching Sultan Shoal. The ship anchored off the shoal with its onboard personnel gathered on the bow and the stern. The escort vessels, HMAS Wollongong, HMS Danae and HMIS Sutlej, stood by while HMAS Yarra's captain, Wilfred Harrington, carefully manoeuvered the bow of his ship alongside the flaming and severely-damaged liner's stern and rescued away 1804 survivors. HMAS Bendigo, which had been in the vicinity, picked up 78 more, while the Wollongong saved the last two persons on the now-sinking ship, its master (captain) and chief-engineer. There were a total of 16 deaths on the Empress of Asia which resulted from when she was attacked and destroyed. The ship finally sank near the small island of Sultan Shoal (then located in the western harbour-approaches of Singapore, presently between the West Jurong and AlGas Anchorages beside Temasek Fairway) about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) to the southwest of the western tip of the mainland of Singapore Island. Despite maritime-salvage efforts organized by Robert W. Rankin, all the military equipment and other crucial and vital supplies were lost and declared irrecoverable. Singapore would eventually fall to and come under the rule of Imperial Japan only ten days later (on 15 February 1942), which makes it difficult to speculate about what differences or changes to the outcome of the battle the Empress of Asia could have made if the ship had not been sunk. It was said that much of the vital military materiel and aid-supplies lost in the sinking of the ship would have been supplied and provided to the badly-equipped Singapore Chinese Anti-Japanese Volunteer Battalion as well as reinforcing and strengthening the rest of the poorly-equipped and ill-supplied British-commanded defending troops, aside from British troops, comprising Australian, Indian and Malayan soldiers.


1942 (20 Mar) Ronald Wyn Davies, Welsh former professional footballer, born


1942 (15 Jul) The 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment was told to mobilize for overseas service


1942 (7 Aug) During World War II an American Fairchild UC-61 Forwarder (41-54885) of 5th Air Depot Group crashed on Winter Hill.

1942 (Aug) Holcombe Range WW2 Home Guard Tragedy

During World War Two there was a tragic incident on the Holcombe Moor training range involving the Home Guard. Below is a transcription from the Ramsbottom Observer, August 1942. At times it reads like an episode of Dad's Army - but as you will read, this was not a funny episode, it highlights the sacrifices of the Home Guard in war time:


Five men attached to the Home Guard were killed as a result of an anti-tank bomb explosion at Holcombe Rifle Range on Saturday afternoon. Sergeant-Instructor Almuth Prestwich (22) is stated to have removed the shear wire from the bomb remarking that it was “quite safe” and, while demonstrating to a class in a hut on the range, he hit the table with the bomb.

There was an immediate explosion and he received grave injuries to which he succumbed immediately afterwards.

Of the eight Home Guards receiving instruction in the use of grenades, four died later and three were seriously injured. Only one of the class escaped. He was Home Guard Corporal Robert McGowan, head postman at Blackpool.   

The dead are:

Almuth Prestwich of Salford

James Dean, aged 35, of Manchester

Norman Aykroyd, aged 30, of Manchester

Norman Victor Gill, aged 44, of Stockport

George Dudley Allan Hullett, aged 43, of Blackpool

 Dean and Aykroyd died some hours after admission to Bury Infirmary, Gill on Sunday afternoon and Hullett on Tuesday morning.

Still lying seriously ill in the Infirmary is James Delaney of Manchester.

Two others injured, Charles Alexander Hey, of Blackpool, and Lance Corporal Fred Loach, of Castleton, were transferred from the Infirmary to a military hospital on Monday.

At the inquest, opened at Bury on Monday, Corporal McGowan told how the men assembled in one of the huts for instruction. A trestle table was in the middle of the hut and the men were seated round three sides of it, with the instructor lecturing at its head. They had had instruction about the Sten gun and half an hour of map reading and then they turned to grenades.

"We reached the stage where we were concerned with the anti-tank grenade. He told us what it was, its purpose and went on to show us what would happen if it hit a tank."

“He took out a piece of wire which he named the shear wire. He threw it on the table for us to examine and then said ‘This thing is quite safe. It would need a hard impact to make it go off’. Then he hit the table with it and it went off”.

“I saw the flash of the bomb and ducked and I think that is how I escaped injury” he said. McGowan added that the explosion had made him deaf.

George H. Latham, sergeant instructor at the school, was taking a class in a nearby hut when he heard the explosion. He assisted the injured.

In reply to the Coroner, the witness said official information was that the bomb should not be stripped or pulled to pieces at the classes.

C.S.M. Thomas Walsh said that after the explosion, it was found that the table was holed and shattered at one end, the forms were overturned, there was a hole in the floor, perforations of the centre of the roof and the windows broken.  


1942 (27 Nov) Peter Thompson (1942 –  2018), English footballer, born in Carlisle.                                                                                          Died 30 Dec 2018.


1942 (27 Nov) James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix) American guitarist, singer and songwriter, born in Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Played the Odeon Bolton in 1967

Died 18 Sep 1970.


1942 Bolton Corporation scraps Bell Punch system and introduces TIM ticket machines.


1942 Empress of Asia was one of five ships that were carrying troops and military materiel and supplies to reinforce Singapore in the face of the rapid Japanese advance on the island following their successful conquest of British Malaya by the beginning of 1942.


1943 (2 Feb) On the 2nd February 1943, Blackburn Skua L2892 of 776 Squadron was apparently flying from RAF Woodvale to Speke - No 776 Squadron had arrived at Speke on the 27th March 1941 as a 2nd line unit carrying out Fleet Requirements duties, towing targets, radar calibration and communications flights for the Naval HQ in Liverpool. Many of its operations were carried out at Woodvale (target flights for HMS Queen Charlotte Gunnery School) and other local airfields. Speke never became a Naval Air Station but but was administered by the Naval Air Section of RAF Speke. The aircraft was piloted by 20 year old Sub-Lt.(A) Anthony John Newton, with Able Seaman Leo Matthew Aiston and the purpose of the flight was apparently to transport some urgently needed spare parts. However, for some unknown reason, the aircraft had strayed over the high ground above the town of Bolton, when it suffered an engine failure and attempted a forced landing with its undercarriage retracted on, what the pilot must have thought looked, a suitable piece of ground - given the urgency of the situation. Unfortunately the aircraft skidded across the field and fell over the edge of a partially flooded disused quarry, used as a mill lodge, exploding on impact and sinking immediately. Both crew members were thought to have been killed by the impact and their bodies remained trapped in the wreckage in some 60 feet of water.


Able Seaman Leo Matthew Aiston

The recovery operation began the next day and proved to be difficult to say the least and had to be carried out using shear legs, pulleys and cables as the ground around the edge of the quarry was too boggy to allow a crane to get near. Though by demolishing part of a stone wall they were able to get a hawser fixed to the crane to help drag the fuselage once it was lifted clear. By the 5th February, both bodies and the bulk of the aircraft had been recovered, though the engine was abandoned as it was too deeply embedded in the mud at the bottom of the lodge for divers to attach hawsers. All fragments of the plane were collected from the field and any damage to the ground and wall made good.


1943 (23 Apr) Willward Alexander Sandys-Clarke, killed at Guiriat El Atach, Tunisia

Awarded the V.C.

He was related to four other winners of the award


Name: Walter Sidebottom

Age:22 Birth Date: abt 1921

Death Date:23 Oct 1943 

Naval Memorials In The United Kingdom Plymouth Ix England

Father: James Sidebottom Mother: Sarah Sidebottom

Regimental Number: D/JX 257362


1943 (23 Oct) Walter Sidebottom (1921 – 1943), English professional footballer, died.                                                                                    Sidebottom served as an able seaman in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Posted aboard HMS Charybdis, he was killed in action when the ship was sunk by German E-boats at the Battle of Sept-Îles on 23 October 1943.                                                                                     Sidebottom is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.


1943 (12 Nov) The crew of a Wellington Bomber (Z8799) from 28 Operational Training Unit, flying from Blackpool to Manchester, were killed when it crashed just to the North of Winter Hill, on Hurst Hill, Angelzarke Moor.


1943 (12 Nov) The crash of a Wellington Bomber in 1943 on Anglezarke Moor. The bomber (no. Z 8799) was on a night exercise and had flown from its base at Wymeswold in Leicestershire. The cause of the crash is unknown, but could of been due to mechanical failure due to cold temperatures.

The Anglezarke Crash site memorial   has a plaque that reads: "To the memory of F/S J.B. Timperon, Sgt E.R. Barnes, Sgt J.B. Hayton, Sgt R.S. Jackson, Sgt G.E. Murray, Sgt M. Mouncey. Killed when a Wellington bomber crashed on these moors on Nov. 12th 1943. Erected by Rotary Club of Worwich, June 1955"


1943 (18 Dec) Harry Goslin, footballer, died in Italy. The only member of the Bolton Wanderers FC team to die in the war.

On 14 Dec a mortar bomb exploded in the tree under which Goslin had made his observation post. He was hit in the back by shrapnel and wood and mortally wounded although he fought for life for a few more days

He is buried in the Sangro River War Cemetery


1943 (24 Dec) An Airspeed Oxford (BM837) of 410 Squadron crashed on Winter Hill


1943 Lt Harry Goslin died from wounds received in action in Italy.

His is amongst the many names of the fallen on the Bolton Artillery Memorial in Nelson Square. Captain of the legendary Wartime Wanderers football team, who led the entire Bolton Wanderers squad in volunteering to join the Bolton Artillery at the start of the Second World War.  

1943 Flying Officer Thomas James Lever Rushton DFC, who died on active service in Alexandria.

W W 2 Memorial window at Barnacre

1943 Sir Ian Gerald McAllister, Scottish businessman, born in Glasgow

He received a Catholic education at Thornleigh Salesian College

Formerly chairman of Ford Motor Company UK, he was appointed chairman of network rail in 2002 and stepped down from the post in 3009

1943 Nat Lofthouse was conscripted in 1943 and worked in Mossley colliery as a Bevin Boy.


1943 In 1943 at the age of 8, Joseph William Foster (born 1935) won an American Webster's dictionary in an 80 yards sprint race in his home town of Bolton. This was the dictionary where Joe was to find the word REEBOK (the American spelling), in 1960. If he had won an English Dictionary, he would have found the word spelt, Rhebok.

1943 Havercroft Maternity Home, Victoria Road Bolton BL1 5AU founded in 1943.                                                                                                 Closed c1975.


1944 (13 Jan) January 13th 1944 was typically dull overcast for the time of year, with the cloud base at approx. 1500 feet, but this should have presented no problems for the routine test flight of a newly delivered B-17 (42-31581) from the USAAF Base Air Depot 1 at Burtonwood. On this day in addition to the usual three crew required for such a flight - Pilot Lieutenant D. E. Harris, Co-pilot Lt. MacDonald and another Lieutenant - a Chief Ground Engineer, there were also three passengers on board "along for the ride"- two enlisted men and a civilian Engineer. After several minutes flying through the cloud, the pilot Delbert E. Harris decided to turn for home and began to descend, expecting at any moment to break free of the cloud over the low-land plain West of Manchester. However during part of the flight the aircraft had been under the control of the Chief Ground Engineer - not an unusual practice - and despite careful observation on the part of the pilot, the aircraft had drifted further to the East than had been anticipated, over the hills near Bolton. At around 1100 feet the plane slammed into the hillside above the village of Edgeworth, the three passengers in the glazed bombardiers compartment and the Chief Ground Engineer in the Co-pilots seat being killed instantly. The disintegrating aircraft was torn apart and the fuel tanks exploded as the momentum carried the remains of the fuselage across the sloping meadow, scattering wreckage over a wide area. Dazed, the pilot managed to free himself and pulled the only other survivor, Lt. MacDonald who was seriously wounded, clear of the shattered and burning cockpit.                                                                   Delbert Harris recovered physically, but was deeply affected by this accident & vowed never to fly any aircraft carrying other crew-members. He moved to test flying fighters and volunteered for combat duty, being assigned to the 353rd Fighter Group. He was shot down and captured on the 1st August 1944, though he later escaped during a forced march to Munich in April 1945 and reached Allied Lines.


1944 (27 Apr) Kerry Patrick Pollard, Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom, born

Attended the Catholic Thornleigh Grammar School (Thornleigh Salesian College)


1944 (29 Apr) Francis Henry Lee, professional footballer, born in Westhoughton

1944 (14 Jul) Vic Faulkner, professional wrestler, born.


1944 (28 Jul) John Byrom, English former footballer, born in Blackburn, Lancashire.


1944 (18 Aug) Sheila Fox was last seen after leaving St James's Primary School in New Bury, Farnworth, Bolton on August 18, 1944.   She was 6 years old and was wearing a blue flowered frock, green coat, stockings and shoes. She had pink ribbons in her hair. At some point as she made her way home to her family's house on Macdonald Avenue, New Bury, Sheila Fox disappeared, never to be seen again.
Within hours of reports that she was missing an exhaustive search of the Farnworth area began.
Young playmates of Sheila told how they had seen their friend riding on the crossbar of a man's bicycle.
Another school friend said she had seen Sheila walking with a man.
Sheila's parents said that she would have had to know the man very well because she was very shy. They always believed that Sheila had tried to head to London, as some of her wartime schoolmates were refugee children from the capital.


1944 (Aug) Walter Rowley became manager on the retirement of Charles Foweraker in August 1944.


1944 (Aug) After spending many years as part of Bolton's back-room staff, Walter Rowley was appointed as manager in August 1944. He spent six years in charge before retiring due to ill health.


1944 (2 Oct) William Morgan, Scottish former professional football player, born.


1944 (13 Nov) Last tram to run over SLT tracks, operated by Bolton Corporation on the Walkden service (13 November).


1944 (24 Dec) On Christmas Eve 1944, 45 Doodlebugs were launched from underneath adapted Heinkel He111 bombers flying over the North Sea, because the launch sites in Europe had been overrun by the Allies. The bombers released the V1s aimed at Manchester, then turned back to base. Many of the missiles landed harmlessly; the worst was at Abbey Hills Road in Oldham, where 27 people were killed.


1944 (24 Dec) At just before 6 o’clock on the morning of Christmas Eve 1944, 6 people in the village of Tottington were killed when a V1 flying bomb dived into a row of terraced houses. A further 9 people were injured, one of whom died later of injuries.


1944 Peter Yates ( 1854–1944), the founder of Yates Wine Lodge, died aged 90


1944 Ruth Hamilton, writer, born in Bolton.



North final first leg

Bolton Wanderers


Manchester United

Burnden Park

Attendance: 40,000

Second leg

Manchester United


Bolton Wanderers

Maine Road

Attendance: 40,000

South Final





Attendance: 90,000




Bolton Wanderers

Stamford Bridge

Attendance: 35,000 2 June 1945



1944-1945 Chelsea reached the Final of the Football League War Cup in 1944-45, having won the Southern Final against Millwall at Wembley, but lost to Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.


1945 (12 Jan) Sir Thomas Barlow, first baronet (born 1845), physician, died at 10 Wimpole Street, aged ninety-nine.


1945 (2 Feb) On the afternoon of the 2nd February 1945 two Hurricanes, assigned to No.11 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit took off at approx. 1:40pm from the unit's base at RAF Calverley in Cheshire. The aircraft concerned were PZ848 piloted by 21 year old Warrant Officer Norman Thomas Huckle and PG472 piloted by Flight Sergeant Thomas Stanley Taylor, also 21. The first of these, PZ848, a Hurricane Mk IIC had been delivered to No.22 MU on the 18.07.1944 and from there on to 11 (P)AFU on the 13.01.1945, making it practically a new aircraft.                                                                       The two pilots were cleared for local flying exercises close to Calverley, but some 20 minutes later they were flying over the high ground to the North of the Lancashire mill town of Bolton. The subsequent inquiry noted that the two aircraft must have flown, in formation, directly after take-off to have reached this area in this time, though the pilot's reasons for taking this action are unclear. One witness did come forward, following an article we placed in a local paper appealing for information. This informant stated that one of the pilots was in fact engaged to a young woman who worked at the same factory as herself and that an impromptu air display had been arranged, but sadly the aircraft never turned up. 

 At approx. 2.00pm the two aircraft are believed to have been flying in formation at some 6-7000 feet over the Smithills area to the North West of Bolton, when they collided in cloud. Both aircraft dived out of the cloud, out of control, over an area of high ground, PZ848 diving into a field close to Horrocks Fold Farm and only a hundred yards or so from a road. The force of the impact was such that the aircraft was completely destroyed, only the shattered tail unit remaining recognisable on the surface according to witnesses. The bulk of the aircraft imbedded itself in an area of soft peat, in the otherwise rocky field and penetrated to a depth of some 10 feet before hitting a layer of hard shale. Warrant Officer Norman Thomas Huckle from Brondesbury is buried at Willesden New Cemetery, Middlesex, Section A. Grave 470.


1945 (2 Feb) On the afternoon of the 2nd February 1945 two Hurricanes, assigned to No.11 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit took off at approx. 1:40pm from the unit's base at RAF Calverley in Cheshire. The aircraft concerned were PG472 piloted by 21 year old Flight Sergeant Thomas Stanley Taylor and PZ848 piloted by Warrant Officer Norman Thomas Huckle, also 21. The first of these, PG472, a Hurricane Mk IIC had been delivered to No.22 MU on the 14.04.1944 and from there on to 1697 Air Despatch Letter Service Flight (ADLS) on 30.06.1944. The aircraft remained with 1697 ADLS until 02.09.1944 when it was damaged, category B and sent to 511 Field Repair Unit (FRU), returning to 22 MU in November and then on to 11 (P)AFU on the 04.01.1945.                                                                                   The two pilots were cleared for local flying exercises, but some 20 minutes later they were flying over the high ground to the North of the Lancashire mill town of Bolton. The subsequent inquiry noted that the two aircraft must have flown, in formation, directly after take-off to have reached this area in this time, though the pilot's reasons for taking this action are unclear. One witness did come forward, following an article we placed in a local paper appealing for information. This informant stated that one of the pilots was in fact engaged to a young woman who worked at the same factory as herself and that an impromptu air display had been arranged, but sadly the aircraft never turned up. Flight Sergeant Thomas Stanley Taylor from Scarborough is buried at Scarborough (Woodlands) Cemetery, Yorkshire, Section C. Border, Grave 87.


At approx. 2.00pm the two aircraft are believed to have been flying in formation at some 6-7000 feet over the Smithills area to the North West of Bolton, when they collided in cloud. Both aircraft dived out of the cloud, out of control, over high ground, PG472 diving into open moorland on the Northern flank of Whimberry Hill. Evidence suggests that the aircraft dived into the ground inverted and exploded on impact, burning fiercely for some time after the crash, within the crater blasted out of the rocky soil. The force of the impact and effects of the fire were such that the aircraft was completely destroyed and apart from the pilot's remains and the engine, it would appear that little else was deemed worth recovering at the time.


1945 (2 Feb)  Two 21-year-old Hurricane pilots with orders to undertake flying exercises within the vicinity of their base at RAF Calverley in Cheshire, immediately flew North in formation. 20 minutes later, Flight Sergeant Thomas Stanley Taylor and Warrant Officer Norman Thomas Huckle crashed into each other at about 6,000 feet in cloud and dived to the ground north of Bolton in Lancashire. Both men were killed. Warrant Officer Huckle’s Hurricane came down close by, at Horrocks Fold Farm.

A factory worker later responded to a newspaper appeal for information and said that a colleague of hers had been engaged to one of the pilots; they were going to give the factory girls an unauthorised air display but alas they never arrived.

Grid reference SD 68832 14134


1945 (19 Apr) Santo Verde lost his life in the River Irwell on 19th April 1945. He was trying to rescue two girls who had been playing by the river and had fallen in. Five other POWs and a local man helped in the rescue attempt. The girls were saved, but sadly 27-year-old Santo got into difficulties and drowned.


1945 (12 May) Alan James Ball Jr, English professional footballer and football club manager, born in Farnworth

He missed games for his school (Farnworth Grammar) due to a youth contract he had acquired with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

After he left school, Wolverhampton Wanderers decided not to take him on, and he started training with Bolton Wanderers but they too decided not to give him a professional deal, as manager Bill Ridding decided he was too small

Died 25 Apr 2007

1945 (2 Jun)  Chelsea vs Bolton Wanderers  at Stamford Bridge

1945 (Sep) Charles Willis Harker, British director of Harker And Howarth (Pianos) Limited, born.


1945 (Dec) Danny Winter (born 1918) was transferred from Bolton Wanderers for £5,000 in December 1945.


1945 John Lewis was elected as Member of Parliament for the two-seat constituency of Bolton.


1945-1955 Willie Moir made 325 appearances scoring 118 goals for Bolton Wanderers between 1945 and 1955

Shortly after the end of World War II Arnold Hagenbach, a baker with a talent for property investment, and Sam Chippendale, an estate agent from Otley, set up a company called the Arndale Property Trust, the name being a combination of "Arnold" and "Chippendale".


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