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'I bombed Bradford'
In last week’s Remember When? page we looked back on the bombing of Bradford in 1940, which left several buildings gutted.
One of them was Lingards department store, at the junction of Kirkgate and Westgate in the city centre.
After the bombing, which took place overnight from Sunday, August 31, to Monday, September 1, handbells were rung in the centre of Bradford to signal the all-clear.
Other buildings damaged or destroyed by the raid included the Tatler Cinema on Thornton Road, Kirkgate Chapel, Robert’s Pie Shop in Godwin Street and the Leeds Road Baptist Church.
The following March, Nazi bombers attacked Bradford again.
Our story about the bombing of Bradford in August/September 1940 and March 1941 demonstrated the truth of the saying that it’s a small world.
He said: “We had two drivers from the Civilian Labour Unit. One was an Austrian, the other was a German. The German heard me talking and said in perfect English, ‘Excuse me, corporal, shall I tell you where you’re from? I know because from 1936 to 1939 I worked at Kessler’s in Balme Street.’ “He said his name was Schmitt. He used to go for cups of tea to the YMCA, which was in Forster Square, before it moved to Trinity Road.
“He said he was recalled to Germany in 1939 and served as an airman. He was an aircrew member in that raid on Bradford in 1941. ‘We were going to bomb Sheffield, but the flak was too heavy. We had a full load and turned back’.
“They dropped them on Bradford. I suppose they had to, to get back. One of them was shot down over Idle,” 85-year-old Mr Turner added.
As reported last week, that March 14 bombing consisted of 29 high-explosive bombs and 556 incendiaries. However, as Mr Turner observed: “They didn’t damage his place of work.”