Picture Of Hyde Grammar School Building
by Brian Thornley
May 2015
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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tommy Sowter's loaf - A Wartime tale of Newton

We just had to post this great local story from the war years in Newton, sent to us by Jacqueline and Colin Ridgway !!
"Reading Roger V Chapman’s interesting memories of his boyhood in Hyde during WW2 reminded us of an aftermath of a Bombing Raid in Newton.   The large ICI works in Talbot Road which produced leathercloth known as “Rexine” in peacetime, was switched to Munitions during WW2.   As a result it became a target for the Luftwaffe, and Bombers regularly flew over Hyde on raids.   They would locate the Reservoir near the Werneth Pub in Gee Cross then aim for the Reservoir at Godley which put them on the Flight Path to the ICI Works.
The factory walls were heavily camouflaged as was the roof and must have been difficult for the German aircrews to spot from the air, although several “drops” of incendary bombs had fallen on the works and hit houses opposite the Clarence Hotel on Talbot Road.

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On one such raid a German bomber was hit by a Hurricane plane, possibly from RAF Calveley, and flew in over Newton very low and on fire.   It came down in the fields behind St. Mary’sChurch and the crew luckily escaped.   My Husband Colin Ridgway and his friends (all very young), were playing football nearby and saw the Germans run into the wood near Saville’s Farm.

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The boys ran home to get their toy guns in order to capture the airmen and on the way to the wood they were met by a friend Tommy Sowter who had been queuing at the bread shop for his Mother’s ration and had a loaf of bread in a bag, he joined them and they went into the wood only to be confronted by the Germans!  Toy guns not being a deterent, bravery soon evaporated and the boys fled not before a German pinched Tommy’s loaf off him.

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In the flight the boys ran into Constable Jackson and the Newton “Dads Army” who were on their way to search for the downed Airmen.   The boys told them where the Germans were and ran back home and safety.   The airmen were soon apprehended and marched off down Talbot Road.   A large crowd of Mothers had assembled near the Post office and as the column passed by much hissing and cat calling took place; by the women against the Germans as their husbands were away fighting in the war.   However, one mother was more concerned in giving her errant son Tommy a “good hiding” for letting the Germans steal their loaf.   Nothing for Tea tonight!!
Also Roger V Chapman is quite correct the ground did shake when  the V2 Rocket passed over; and there wasn’t much left of the farm it hit either. 
Not so Happy Days !! "
Many Thanks for sending this in to us, Jacqueline and Colin !
It's always great hearing such stories. :)


B Williams said...

Great story! I didn't know anything about that before.

Werneth Low said...

Neither did I. Poor Tommy getting a clout for being a hero!

Anonymous said...

Barry in Oz. I must ask my Mother about this, she spent a lot of time at Jess Lewis's Chippy opposite ST Mary's school during those days.

Dave B said...

Well done Tommy for getting those lads out of the woods safely by using your loaf....