GRACELAND

Gloucester during the war WW2

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I'm really surprised that Gloucester did not suffer more raids with the aircraft factory, RAF Staverton and other important industries in the city. My Uncle Joe Craddock worked at the Hucclecote aircraft factory, making Hurricanes I believe. Can't ask him as he passed away a few years ago now.

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I'm really surprised that Gloucester did not suffer more raids with the aircraft factory, RAF Staverton and other important industries in the city. My Uncle Joe Craddock worked at the Hucclecote aircraft factory, making Hurricanes I believe. Can't ask him as he passed away a few years ago now.

Gloucester was well protected by the gun emplacements on Robinswood Hill. There was an army barracks at The Butts, near where the Three Oaks Pub is now. The barracks gymnasium still exists and is now being used as Robinswood [Pentecostal] Church. By the way, the aircraft factory was always classified as Brockworth, not Hucclecote.

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Gloucester was well protected by the gun emplacements on Robinswood Hill. There was an army barracks at The Butts, near where the Three Oaks Pub is now.

Here is a photo taken approx 1957 ? From an old 8MM cine still, the army huts can be seen at the bend of Juniper Avenue on the junction of Matson Lane, around the time Moat School was being built and Matson Lane was being widened.

G-B

post-3085-12734419947316.jpg

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As Kay says there were lots of defences on Robinswood, there were also defences on Nut Hill which is the closest prominence to the former Airfield and Gloster Factory and a very large anti-aircraft battery at Moreton Valence and so on. So while Gloucester certainly was a target the cost was probably too high, the city too well defended for the Luftwaffe to consider it worthwhile to do nightly raids.

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There were plenty of bits and pieces from the war that I remember as a small boy climbing up to camels hump

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there were also defences on Nut Hill which is the closest prominence to the former Airfield and Gloster Factory.

In the late 1960's early 70's, aged 9 or 10 years old, I used to cycle with my two older brothers and friends up to NUT Hill, then we'd walk up through the woods, leaving our bikes and we'd play in the disused air raid shelter, which today can be seen from the new housing development Coopers Edge.

The air raid shelter wasn't padlocked back then and we'd open the steel trap door and climb down an iron ladder and on one occasion, when we went to leave, we couldn't open the trap door for what seemed like an hour or so. Eventually we tried again a bit later and it opened and when we got out, found a broken twig, that suggested that someone, probably some older kids ? Had wedged it through the hole where a padlock would've went through, luckily for us, it broke and we were free, but then we found our bikes were missing, but after a 15 minute search of the woods, we'd found them buried under leaves and branches, so were able to cycle back home.

Back then, we walked or cycled all over the place and never came to any harm. Kids today would probably be attacked or kidnapped, if they had the same freedom, which back then, we took for granted.

G-B

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Yes the bunker and pill-box are both sealed off now. You were lucky not to get stuck in there on that occasion. What a rotten trick to play!

In the late 1960's early 70's, aged 9 or 10 years old ... we walked or cycled all over the place and never came to any harm. Kids today would probably be attacked or kidnapped, if they had the same freedom, which back then, we took for granted.

I walked all around Upton and Matson, Brookthorpe & Whaddon, Harescombe & Haresfield, Painswick, &c. when I was only slightly older than that (which wasn't THAT long ago) and I came to no harm. :)

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it was safe enough we thought :lookaround: in the 1970s we used to play on Robinswood hill all hours

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I was about 5, we lived on wellington street a few houses from the park. A bomb hit the houses across our back garden and I was sucked out of bed, not all bombs blow some suck, and I finished up saved by the wall beneath the window which was just a hole. Mother was there in seconds and held me.

Another memory was being lifted onto Fathers right shoulder, he was in the Gloucesters, must have been home on a leave, and him running through the park to a tunnel under California Crossing railway line with the smell of explosive in the air.  I looked up behind as I was bouncing and saw what I think was a body part in a tree but not sure if this was actual of a dreamlike memory.

John Davis

 

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Nice to hear from you John

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It is quite astonishing that Gloucester was relatively unscathed by bombs in World War II, considering that was going on in the area for the 'war effort'. Yes, the Gloster Aircraft Company in Brockworth was one of several sites that built Hawker Hurricanes. In addition, in 1940 the Air Ministry order two prototype Gloster E.28/39 jet fighters which started production at Brockworth. Concerns that Brockworth could be a target for bombing meant that a lot of work on these experimental jet fighters was shifted to Regency Motors in Cheltenham. Then there was Rotol at Staverton which made propellers for Hurricanes, Spitfires and other RAF aircraft.

However, an often forgotten aspect of Gloucester's importance was Number 44 Group Communications Flight, Royal Air Force based at RAF Staverton (now Gloucestershire Airport). Set up in September 1940, this Overseas Aircraft Control, known as Gloucester Control, oversaw all RAF long distance flights to and from the UK. An RAF transport flight to North Africa, India and the Far East would have been controlled by Gloucester up to the boundary of the Malta OAC. Flights across the Atlantic were also hanfled. By the end of the war, Gloucester Control was handling 21,000 flights a year from RAF Staverton.  Again, there was a fear of bombing, so everything was duplicated at Birdlip (Shab Hill) and operations could be switched there at the flick of a switch. Transmitters and receivers for the HF R/T and C/W communications were at Shab Hill (close to the Air Baloon) and Winstone (adjacent to The Highwayman Inn). Both sites were operated by the Air Ministry and CAA until the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) took over air traffic control in UK. The sites are, I believe, used today by NATS as 'repeater stations'.

The Citizen of 15 March 1946 has a fascinating report of Gloucester Control during the war under the headline "Gloucester Vital Link In Air Safety".  In addition, There is a 330-page (A4 format) book "A History of the Birdlip Aeronautical Communication Complex (1940 - 2015): Communications from the Cotswolds" by Colin McKeen, published in Ireland a few months ago.

As has been mentioned above, Gloucester was well protected with anti-aircaft units.

 

 

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An interesting post and you are right about how lucky Gloucester was. Gloucester was an important route to the rest of the country and was know as the gateway of England

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G'day Eddie,

I remember my Mother telling us about the Ack Ack gun that was placed at the end of Finlay Road and the start of Eastern Avenue. My Father worked at G.A.C. after being demobbed from the RAF after 22 years service and he told us of the first test flights of the Javelin.

Nobby.:hehe:

Eddie likes this

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Hi

I am doing research for a book on Gloucester's military history. I did find something on the Hucclecote bomb Graceland:

 

"Enemy action in the Parish. The memorial includes a commemoration to seven people, including the HENDERSON family, who lost their lives when a bomb fell on a shop and houses in Hucclecote road on Easter Saturday, 4 April 1942. The area is near to the Royal Oak pub, and is now occupied by a small parade of shops.

 

The HENDERSON family consisted of James and Beatrice and their children, 3 years old Jean and 10 months old Joyce."

Very sad :(

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Welcome to the boards Paul. It wouldbe fascinating to hear your memories

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On ‎06‎/‎05‎/‎2010 at 7:51 PM, doughnut said:

Found the photo, but cannot find the old clipping from the Citizen. So I don't know where the church building was. Leon Quest told me that he believed it was a miracle. The Ladies meeting was in progress, children were there with their mothers. He heard the planes and went to see what was happening. He actually saw the bombs fall. Rushed in and shouted for everyone to get under the pews. When the bomb exploded, all the walls except one fell, the one that didn't fall, he physically held (propped)up. The women and children got out then he let go and ran, the wall smashed down behind him.

He said they brushed glass out of the hair of the ladies and children, but no one was hurt or cut. The photo, if I remember correctly was the first Sunday afterwards.

During my time in Gloucester he was delighted to meet up with some of the women and the children, on the site where the church stood. I remember it being in the Citizen but don't have a copy of that. If you delve into the archives of the paper, I'm sure you will find out more.

post-12-12731719029477.jpg

 

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I ma not sure how to respond so apologies if I don't do this correctly. I have just come across this website. My name is Paul Quest and my father was the minister of the Elim church that was bombed and I was one of the children that had glass removed from inside the clothing that I had on.  I would love to hear from anyone that knows anything about this story

Edited by Paul Quest
speelling eror

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On ‎06‎/‎05‎/‎2010 at 7:51 PM, doughnut said:

Found the photo, but cannot find the old clipping from the Citizen. So I don't know where the church building was. Leon Quest told me that he believed it was a miracle. The Ladies meeting was in progress, children were there with their mothers. He heard the planes and went to see what was happening. He actually saw the bombs fall. Rushed in and shouted for everyone to get under the pews. When the bomb exploded, all the walls except one fell, the one that didn't fall, he physically held (propped)up. The women and children got out then he let go and ran, the wall smashed down behind him.

He said they brushed glass out of the hair of the ladies and children, but no one was hurt or cut. The photo, if I remember correctly was the first Sunday afterwards.

During my time in Gloucester he was delighted to meet up with some of the women and the children, on the site where the church stood. I remember it being in the Citizen but don't have a copy of that. If you delve into the archives of the paper, I'm sure you will find out more.

post-12-12731719029477.jpg

 

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I was one of the children that were in the Elim church that was bombed. My father, Leon Quest,was the minister and it was an afternoon woman's meeting. When the air raid siren went my father went outside the church just in time to see the bombs leaving the aircraft he rushed back inside and shouted "down everybody" . The building was damaged but no ne was seriously hurt. many of the houses around were demolished and it was a miracle that the ladies were in the church otherwise the death tole would have been much worse.

 

Paul Quest

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Hello everyone, 

I am one of the founding members for the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Museum and I am interested in finding out more information regarding GRC&W during WWII, I understand Queen Mary visited GRC&W twice during the war and the company manufactured Churchill tanks as well as rolling stock and many other items during the war, but, as well as all of this I am interested in the social history side of the company too and I am aiming to collect information regarding GRC&W throughout its history. 

At the moment I am doing some research as mentioned above on GRC&W during WWII and I was wondering if anyone knows any information regarding GRC&W during WWII including did any bombs hit the Works or surrounding areas, and is there anyone still alive who lived through the war and had a family member or connection with GRC&W? 

I look forward to hearing from anyone who would be able to help me, I am also interested in hearing from anyone who worked at or any family member of any cornerback employees of the Wagon Works. 

I am hoping to write a research paper/book on this subject for sale/use in the museum and for anyone interested. 

I look forward to hearing from anyone.

with kindest regards, 

Aaron

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Hi Aaron, I would be thrilled to read more about this subject. Is your research still going? I would be more than glad to look around for any information that would be of use to you if it is.

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