Second World War

During the Second World War Wold Newton was surrounded by RAF airfields; Binbrook, Ludford, Kelstern, Waltham.  Two aeroplanes are remembered as having crash-landed in the parish and the noise of bombers setting off on, and returning from, raids must have been a constant reminder of the conflict in a place that would otherwise have been relatively tranquil and unaffected.  Below are some recollections of the stories that have been told over the years by residents of the time.

One of the crashes, on 5th December 1943, was certainly a traumatic event, told in more detail by John Dale in his reminiscences, and is reported on the Bomber County website.

"My memory is that Sid Smith told me the plane had just taken off from Ludford, which seemed to fit it with its direction of travel, and that it caught the top of one of a line of elms that used to stand in a field about half a mile from Scallows, and came down from there.  But other people, such as Ron Stainton and one of the Naylor boys, remember listening to the plane circling the area for some time before the crash, realising from the sound of its engines, that it was in trouble, which would fit in with its given flight take-off time some four hours previously, unless it was doing 'circuits and bumps', ie practising take-offs/landings.

"When it came down, the village boys set off on their bikes after the fire brigade, apart from Ron Stainton who was too young.   And certainly it's possible that one would hear it, as I know whenever the Battle of Britain Lanc is flown within a couple of miles of here, I can hear it straightaway, so they would have been able to  track it."

"Another Lanc apparently did come down in the parish, earlier in the war, in a field called Mushroom Close, which is on the north-east end of South Farm, then being ridge and furrow permanent grass, only ploughed up after the war.  Some of the older village residents tell us that it was too wet for it to take off again all winter, and so the RAF kept a guard on it for some months, but I've found no documentary evidence of it yet. 

"There's also stories that a bomber (German/English?) dumped its bombs in fields to the west of the village, causing windows at the Manor to be blown out, but again, only verbal history.

"There must have been a devastating racket when the big bombing raids assembled.  One Lanc going overhead is fairly earth-shaking, what about when the 'thousand-bomber-raids' assembled over the Humber before heading off to Germany, or when all the airfields in this area, Binbrook, Kelstern-Ludford, Waltham, Kirmington etc all took off?  Small wonder that Parsons would write in his diary towards the end of the war, 'Foggy, no flying tonight, thank God!"  And he was deaf! And this was a generation brought into the world when the loudest noises might have been the local Hunt going past, or the church organ at full blast, before the internal combustion engine had taken such hold.

"There are some accounts in the diaries where Parsons records troops on exercise being billeted in the village, officers at the Manor.  I suppose the village also felt twinges of the terror earlier in the war when the Germans came over on bombing raids.  One night, Squire felt sufficiently worried to come downstairs when he heard the sirens (presumably from Binbrook) go off, heading to the cellar, and stumbled as he got to the bottom of the stairs, breaking the handrail, which entailed Parsons having to spend the next couple of days repairing it."

A less traumatic crash landing occurred on 8th November 1940 when another 'plane (probably not a Lancaster as it was still on the drawing board) came to rest in Hawerby Field, then know as Mushroom Close.  With characteristic economy of expression, the Wright brothers in the Manor noted the event in their diaries thus:

Squire
Friday 8th November 1940

'Hear one of our planes is down at Stockfurlongs in Mushroom Close - Lost its way.'  (Earlier he had recorded the morning as 'Brilliant after white frost', and noted a 'fine cold afternoon and evening' on the 7th.

Saturday 9th November 1940

'Attend Matins. Take Mystery [his horse] out in rain round by Beesby and Hawerby.  See plane nr S hedge of Mushroom Close. Tidy up Ch, remove Chrysanthemums ...

Parsons

Thursday 7th November 1940

'Slack about till tea-time. The Germans seem to be flying about! Keenish frost at night.'

Friday 8th November 1940

'Lambert says one of our planes is down in Mushroom Close! A fine clear kind of night'.

The next day, 

Squire

'Evensong 4. Home Guards attend. Very cold frost ... Bang about 10.'

Parsons

Saturday 9th November 1940

'A bomb was dropped at Yarboro' at 8am.  Shook up things even here!'

Sunday 10th November

'Read lessons at Evensong at 4pm.  Several Uniforms in church.  Some say it was our Home Guard but I don't know as yet.'  He later notes that they kept Remembrance Sunday that day.

The aircraft was probably on course for RAF Binbrook, its course being aligned to runway 09/27.  It apparently remained in the field for some months before being flown off, kept under guard, principally, one suspects, to keep small boys from clambering all over it and making off with souvenirs.


The Lincolnshire Echo published the memories of one Wold Newton inhabitant of the end of the Second World War in Mar 2004. The account is attached below, although it certainly contains at least one inaccuracy - all Aubrey Willerton could play was the football, so it was not him playing the accordion with his brother. It may have been Parsons Wright, who is known to have played several musical instruments.

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Christopher Buckle,
16 May 2013, 13:50
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