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World War Two Hits Moss Side, Manchester

by ronald30

Contributed by 
ronald30
People in story: 
Ronald James Welsh
Location of story: 
Moss Side Manchester
Article ID: 
A1974585
Contributed on: 
05 November 2003

My name is Ronald Welsh - they called me Ronnie at school. I was born in Old Trafford in 1930. We lived in Cliffton Street 'til the war started, and the bombs started to fall all round us. Hitler was trying to bomb Trafford Park but his planes couldn’t hit a bull's arse with a bango. We moved out of Old Trafford when a land mine landed at the top of Cliffton Street, killing over 20 people and ruining all the properties in the Street. We rented our house.

My mother was a widow; my father died in 1936 of cancer. My mother said it was caused by the 1914-18 war. He was shot in the arm in France, and nearly had it amputated but for a lovely Scottish nurse who managed to save it. It was never very useful, as I can remember. My mother being a widow and left with three children (all boys under the age of 11 years) did a moonlight flit, I believe, and ended up in Bickley Street, Moss Side.

I went to School at Bishop Bilsbourgh, next to the bus Depot on Princess Road. The bombs were still coming down: the Manchester Blitz came just prior to Christmas.

My mother had found a job at Dunlop’s Rubber Co. in Cambridge Street and had to work nights when the Blitz was on. It was every boy for himself - you heard the sirens and either stayed in the bedroom and watched the bombs coming down, and then watched the city burn, or you dashed down to the back yard into the shelter. With no heating in it, my so-called uncle, the lodger who lived with us to help pay the rent, used to get drunk and stay in bed, singing Irish rebel songs.

The following days we would walk in to Manchester looking for shrapnel. Later we saw a German bomber plane, which had been shot down near the gas works in Gaythorp
Street. All the boys were in the plane stealing bits of it to take home as a souvenirs.

On another day later in the month I was getting up for school in the morning, at around 7.30am, and we heard terrific explosion. All the letter boxes and windows rattled. It was a German bomber that had been hit by anti-aircraft guns, trying to get home. So he ditched the remainder of his bombs across the bottom end of three streets - Serwerby St, Stockton St and Meadow St, Moss Side - 400 yards from my house. Lots of innocentswere killed - I went to school with some of them. I was only 11 years old, but I still remember.

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