Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Zeppelin, Bombs, Bomb Damage in and around Haslingden 1916 and 1941

The Zeppelin Raid on September 25th 1916

L21 Zeppellin Raid on September 25th 1916 
September 25th 1916 was a clear night and without warning a German Zeppelin dropped seven bombs on the outskirts of Haslingden. The bombing was unexpected and residents came out to see the Zeppelin - the size of an ocean liner - above the town. The report in the Haslingden Gazette states "The visit of the Zeppelin struck momentary fear into the hearts of everyone. The masses of flashed light and the air-rending cracks from the exploding bombs were things to be remembered"
Jackie Ramsbottom - 

I have visited National Archives at Kew and seen the records they hold on this bombing raid. Here is what is recorded in section 111 of the secret file compiled by the intelligence section of GHQ home forces on the air raids of 1916. 
Ann Taylor - 


5. Course of L. 21. – L. 21 came in at Sutton on Sea at 9.45pm. at 9.50 pm she was at Alford, at 10.15 pm south of Wragby. At 10.30 pm she passed over Lincoln, and turned north-west, and at 10.43pm passes Knaith. At 10.55pm she was south of Bawtry, and at 11.8 pm was at Beighton. She then passed over the northern outskirts of Sheffield, was heard from the city, but dropped no bombs, going on eastwards into the Peak district, where she was reported from Derwent at 11.28 am (yes the original report says AM!) She then disappeared from observation over the uninhabited moorland, and reappeared suddenly at Todmorden at 11.55pm. at midnight she was at Bacup, and went north-west to Lumb, between which place and Newchurch she dropped two incendiary bombs. She then turned south-west and made the railway at Rawtenstall, where she dropped 2 H.E. bombs. Thence she went due west to Haslingden. From Haslingden she followed the railway south, dropping 5 H.E. and 2 incendiary bombs at Ewood Bridge, which did slight damage to the railway line and broke some windows. Still following the railway she now dropped 7 H.E. bombs at Holcomb, which injured a woman, damaged the post office and broke windows and telegraph wires. At Ramsbottom, further down the valley, 2 H.E. bombs were dropped, followed by 2 incendiary bombs at Holcomb Brook. The airship was reported from bury at 12.19 am and at 12.40 was near Atherton. At 12.45am she went over Bolton, where she dropped 9 H.E. and 11 incendiary bombs, killing 12 persons and wounding 2. Six houses were demolished and 6 badley damaged, a church slightly damaged, and many windows blown out. One fire, not serious, was caused at a mill. No damage was done to the Bessemer Steel forge or any factories or public buildings.

From Bolton she turned due north, at 1.15am was south of Blackburn, and then turned north-east, passing Burnley. At 1.30am she was near Skipton, and about 1.35am she dropped at Bolton abbey a H.E. bomb which failed to explode. She held on her north-easterly course, was reported in the neighbourhood of Rippon about 2am, and at Thirsk about 2.15 am. She now passed over North Yorkshire moors, where she apparently had some difficulty in location her position, as it was not till 3.5am she passed out to sea at Whitby.


Jeff Stevens has kindly sent in the following link with even more information about the L21 Zeppelin-Airship



The Bombs fell at 1:45am on 16th April, 1941
(Laund Hey and Cribden)

Fizle has kindly sent in the following mail:

Hi Bryan,

With the anniversary of the Blitz being marked everywhere, I wondered if you would be interested in starting a thread on bomb damage in Haslingden and surrounding areas and if anyone or their relatives remembered the experience. Also the on Laund Hey there used to be two dips which we described as 'bomb holes'. Were there really bombs dropped there at the foot of Cribden or was it just a tale?

Hope you are well and keep up the good work.

Fizle Sagar

I remember the bomb holes (there still there!) and I was probably told the same story as you. They said that they where German bombers who had been instructed to return to Germany and decided to lighten off their horrible payload near Cribden (Laund Hey - playing field, towards the base of Cribden and alongside the footpath at the junction where you would turn right). B.Y.

From Paul Burke.
Hello Bryan,
Whilst searching for information on the bomb holes up on Laund Hey, Haslingden, I came across a similar enquiry on your wonderful Haslingden blog:

To answer your query, the Lancashire Telegraph published a detailed map of every bomb that was dropped on East Lancashire during World War II. It includes the Laund Hey/Cribden bombs, but actually places them in Rawtenstall! They fell at 1:45am on 16th April, 1941:

LT Map in larger size
Google Maps Aerial View

I have just been up there today and can report that 3 of the 4 craters are still easily visible, especially when looked upon from the side of Cribden. The location of the 4th crater, which I always remember (albeit from 30 or so years ago!) as being immediately next to the footpath (which follows the wall on the left of the photo below), was no longer obvious.
hope this information helps.
Paul Burke

20th October 2012 from Jeff Stevens:
I remember in the late 1950's, as a youngster finding some rusted shrapnel in the vicinity of the bomb holes, it was quite a prized possession at the time.
Jeff Stevens

My grandma and grandad had Baxenden Conservative Club (Bash Con) at the time and i remember my grandma telling me that when the air raids were on she would hide the children under the billiard table as it wouldnt collapse even if the building came down on top if it. We dont know we're born these days.
Chris Howarth

Bomb Holes over Longshoot Estate

There were holes at the top of shoot, what used to be open land at the back of the houses, and over "The valley" as we called it, Always described as the bomb holes.
Eileen Webster

Starfish Station - Haslingden Grane

There used to be a starfish station in the Helmshore Grane area.This was a system of lights that from the air resembled a city or railway marshalling yard.This was used to convince Ww2 German aeroplanes to offload their bomb load in the open countryside.
Jeff Stevens

CLICK HERE (for site showing more)

Decoy Site - Haslingden Grane

Jeff Stevens has kindly sent in the following link to the site showing the Decoy Site