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Evacuated! Bomb Scare!: Childhood Memories of Nantwich in Cheshire

by championsammyb

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Sam Barlow
Location of story: 
Nantwich, Cheshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
13 June 2004

Sam Barlow and the one that didn't explode.

This is a picture of my father, Sam Barlow, standing beside a bomb which had been recovered from the middle of a field behind our house in Birchin Lane, Nantwich, Cheshire. Luckily for all of us it hadn't exploded. Below the area in Cheshire where we lived was running sand and because of this the bomb disposal team took about six weeks to recover the bomb. I can't remember the exact date but it must have been fairly early on in the war when I was four or five. German bombers had been targeting Liverpool and Crewe, which was just about four miles away. I clearly remember the Air Raid Warden cautiously climbing the air raid shelter steps and looking towards the field. We were in our neighbour's shelter along with others from nearby houses. He decided that we would have to leave our houses immediately, so we set off to stay with my mother's sister who lived in Willaston just a couple of miles away. My father was in such a hurry that he had to ask permission to go back into the house to collect his false teeth!

On another occasion I clearly remember a German bomber flying over our house towards Crewe. It was a Sunday afternoon and obviously broad daylight. The pilot turned slightly north and then we saw a puff of smoke over the Rolls Royce factory away in the distance. He had dropped a bomb on it, but as far as I can remember no serious damage was done to the manufacturing part of the factory. One night, a German plane was heard. It was flying low over the main road that runs from Nantwich to Crewe. We heard later that when the plane reached Wistaston the pilot started to machine gun the ground below.

At other times during the war we had evacuated children staying with us. One, a girl, came from Liverpool, and another, a boy called Norman, came from Wallasey. He didn't like Nantwich. He said that all the planes flying over reminded him of home. He didn't feel safe.

My father wasn't fit for war duties so he joined the Home Guard. The stories we heard easily matched the escapades of the men in the TV series "Dad's Army". They got lost on training exercises; my father nearly shot the colonel and the story of the rapid descent down the stairs in the Old Town Hall in Nantwich by one of my father's colleagues after a bomb had dropped and exploded a couple of miles away was hilarious. He reached the ground and was flat on his face alongside my father before the blast blew out the window of the Maypole shop nearby.

John Barlow, 12th June'04

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Bombs!

Posted on: 03 September 2004 by championsammyb

The more I look at this picture, the more I wonder about the bomb. What kind of bomb was it? How powerful was it? How much damage would it have done? If it had gone off would I be here today? I was in a shelter in a garden just behind the boundary to the field which can be seen running along the field behind my father. The shelter was 50 - 100 yards away from where the bomb dropped, and just off the picture to the left.

Can anyone help with these questions?

John Barlow

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