A RECENT feature in the T&A by historian Norman Alvin on the night Idle village was hit by a German bomber plane reminded Rudi Leavor, chairman of Bradford Synagogue, of a memorable incident some years ago...

Mr Leavor writes: “Brian Moser, the great-nephew of Jacob Moser, the first Lord Mayor of Bradford, was a film producer in London and paid a visit to Bradford to research his ancestors. Jacob had been a member of the Synagogue and was a generous benefactor to many organisations both in Bradford and abroad. He was one of the founders of Bradford’s then new Technical College and his name is amongst the donors on a tablet inside the main entrance of what is now the University.

During Brian Moser’s visit we discovered that there were two streets named Moser in Bradford, both in Idle. Subsequently, after I had looked up where these streets were, I visited them - they were quite close to each other. Wanting to take a photograph of a name plate, I found the nearest one fixed to a house. I set about finding a good distance and angle when a very irate man came rushing out of the house wanting to know why I was posturing for a photograph of his property.

I daresay he thought I was making a reconnaissance for a burglary and I feared he was going to hit me. However, when I explained the whole situation to him he not only calmed down but said he felt honoured that his street and indeed house was associated with the name Moser.”

Jacob Moser came to Bradford from Germany in 1863. He worked for textile firms and became head of Edelstein, Moser and Co, one of the great Bradford textile export houses. Moser was a philanthropist and throughout his life gave £750,000 to various causes. He was a founder of the Bradford Charity Organisation Society, the City Guild of Help and Bradford Technical School, served on the board of the Infirmary and gave £5,000 to build a new hospital. He supported Bradford’s Children’s Hospital and gave 12,000 books to Bradford Central Library. Joining Bradford Council as an independent member for Manningham in 1896, he served Heaton and Little Horton. He was Lord Mayor of Bradford in 1910 and was also Chief Magistrate and a founder of Bradford Reform Synagogue.

* It was just after midnight on Monday May 5, 1941 when a Luftwaffe bomber crashed onto Idle. One of nine bombers attacked by the RAF on a mission heading for Belfast, it crashed in Idle, striking a wood yard, destroying two cottages and damaging nearby houses. A fire broke out and residents awoken by the explosion rushed to the scene. Those who were killed included a young couple trapped in bed when the aircraft crashed through their roof. Their baby’s cot was pushed beneath the staircase, saving his life.

A medal discovered in the wreckage, now in Idle Library, for German citizens working in public service is thought to be have belonged to one of the airmen. The pilot of the stricken plane, who baled out and landed in a field, was found by a local boy and taken to a police box on High Street, joined by a shoe repairer and a Sunday School caretaker who handed the man to the police.