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15 October 2014
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The Bombing of Lincoln

by BBC Open Centre, Hull

Contributed by 
BBC Open Centre, Hull
People in story: 
A. Bilton
Location of story: 
Lincoln
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4082005
Contributed on: 
17 May 2005

On the 8th May 1941 I was living at 31 Westwick Gardens in Lincoln, Lincolnshire in United Kingdom with my Mother Elsie May Bilton (28) my two sisters Doreen Edith (7), June Mary (5) and my brother Terry (3). Also living at this address at this time was my Auntie Edith Houlden (20) and my Uncle Jim Houlden (22). On this particular night we also had staying with us my Uncle 854001 William Houlden (Royal Artillery) who just happened to be on leave. My Father 792177 Sgt. Arthur Bilton (Royal Artillery) was in the Middle East theatre of war at this time.

At number 29 Westwick Gardens lived the family Everett. Mother, three daughters and one son. The father Syd being in the Army and abroad at this time.

At number 33 lived the Bean Family. Father Cyril, Mother Annie (who had been a nurse (FANY) in the First World War), one daughter and three sons. It so happened that Annie's birthday was on the 9th of May. Mrs Bean was the sort of person one always went to in times of trouble. She nursed the old and when necessary laid out the dead. Attended all confinements and helped lots of new people into the world. One never heard her swear-ever. This day she was heard to say "I wonder what that bugger Hitler will send me for my birthday".

My brother Terry and I slept in the front bedroom and shared a double bed with my Mother. Doreen, June shared a double bed in the second bedroom with my Auntie Edith. Jim and William were in the smallest bedroom also in a double bed.
During the early hours we were woken up by BOMBS being dropped all around the area. A LANDMINE dropped just round the corner and took the front off four houses. The hole was such that it was estimated that two double-decker buses could be stood one on top of the other in it and not reach the top. The hole not in the middle of the road so the pathway on the West Side was intact.
At number 26 Westwick Gardens a BOMB dropped into the back garden, it took away the back walls of the house and a child sleeping in a cot in the bedroom immediately above the kitchen was killed when the cot fell into the kitchen. Also killed in this house was the girls Father Andrew Tollerton. The back garden of this house was joined at the bottom by the garden of an old persons garden at 4 Prial Close. The occupant of this house a Mrs.M.Rogers was also killed on this night.

After the BOMBING stopped we all got out of bed and accumulated at number 33. The Family Everett was there, the Family Beans was there and all from number 31. I slept in my shirt and not having time to collect my trousers was hiding behind a chair. After a while my Uncle William went back to bed, he came down a little later with a piece of concrete that he found in the middle of the pillows that were in the bed he shared with his brother Jim. My Auntie Edith then borrowed William's Steel helmet and went into the street where she found the woman who lived at number 24 in an hysterical state so took her and her son to St.Peters Avenue to her sisters. At this time I felt brave enough to go and fetch my trousers. I ran up the stairs and grabbed my trousers; there was no way I was going to stay in that dark room to put them on so I ran out of the room and down the stairs. Part way down the stairs a large piece of glass fell out of my trousers. I have always been glad I was too scared to stop in the bedroom to put on my trousers

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Message 1 - Re: The Bombing of Lincoln

Posted on: 17 May 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Mr Bilton

I found your story of the bombing of Lincoln in May 1941 of great interest.

Westwick Gardens is a street in Boultham Moor, quite close to the junction of Tritton Road and Doddington Road, as you know, and only a short distance from Birchwood.

Birchwood is now covered in houses, but in 1941 Waddington's auxiliary Bomber Command airfield, Skellingthorpe, opened there. I am not sure if it was still being finalised or was already functional in May 1941.

The airfield's east boundary was adjacent to Hartsholme Wood. Taking into account the margin of error for WW2 bombing, it would appear to me that the bombs which fell on your street, just under a mile as the crow flies from the airfield, were intended for the Skellingthorpe. I was not aware that this airfield was being targetted so early.

Kind regards,

Peter

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