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Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Friday, 17 September 2010 11:20 UK
Wartime bombing of Rolls Royce in Crewe remembered
Peter Ollerhead
Peter Ollerhead has written a book about Crewe and the blitz

While London and other big cities mark the 70th anniversary of the Blitz, many other towns and villages around the UK did not escape the German bombs entirely.

In south Cheshire, the industrial town of Crewe was one of the places that was targeted in December 1940.

The Rolls Royce factory there was hit by two bombs.

Seventeen people were killed and hundreds were injured.

The factory, which is now the home of Bentley Motors, produced Merlin engines for the Royal Air Force.

Obvious target

These engines went into Spitfires and other planes such as the Hurricane and Lancaster. So it was something of an obvious target for the Luftwaffe.

For the people who were working at the former Rolls Royce factory, there was no warning and no sirens went off.

Local historian, Peter Ollerhead, has written a book entitled Making Cars at Crewe. In one of the chapters, he covers the 1940 bombing raid in which 17 employees were killed.

Mr Ollerhead described the events of that day to BBC Radio Stoke: "As it happened, it just clipped the end of what was known in those days as 16 Shop.

"There were two bombs, one that clipped the end and another one that fell on the electrical substation just outside," he added.

Bulldog spirit

Although everyone mourned the casualties, and some of the machines were damaged, the workers were able to keep going and production of the Merlin engines continued.

Mr Ollerhead said that the shock of the attack was robustly countered by a typical British bulldog spirit.

"Everybody, unless they were injured, and there was quite a few injured, everybody was back at work the next day."



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