Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Tommy Sowter's loaf - A Wartime tale of Newton

This was a post from 2013, I'm using it again today as it came up in conversation today when I was asked if I'd ever found out anymore about it. I hadn't which is a shame but by showing it again today it might jog a memory of two.. hope so!

We just had to post this great local story from Newton in the war years, sent in 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 leather-cloth 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 incendiary bombs had fallen on the works and hit houses opposite the Clarence Hotel on Talbot Road.

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’s Church 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.

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 Sitha, bravery soon evaporated and the boys fled, but not before a German had pinched Tommy’s loaf off him.

Er' Sithe, wurs ma bleedin loaf

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 catcalling 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!!

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....

SeanD said...

Oh! Dave B beat me to the loaf pun!!

Linda said...

You have a fascinating blog. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. My grandparents on my father's side are from Kent, England.