Marsh Road hit

It was August 3rd, 1942. When Dad heard the news that Marsh Road had been hit, he headed down Cargo Fleet Road, past the bus terminus and the railway bridge. Middlesbrough Railway Station was a mess. The roof and a stationary train were badly damaged. As he turned the corner into Marsh Road he saw the extent of the damage. Three or four houses lay in ruins and a further number on either side had tiles off their roof and shattered windows. Firemen and wardens franticly searched the rubble for survivors. Dad heaved a sigh of relief. His parent’s house had survived.

An eye witness, a young boy, was later to state:

“The Luftwaffe dropped flare bombs on parachutes. It was spectacular. They lit up the town turning night into day”.

Another eye witness account:

“A lone Dornier Do 217 picked its way through the barrage balloons and dropped a stick of bombs onto the railway station. One bomb caused serious damage to the Victorian glass and steel roof. A train in the station was also badly damaged but thankfully no passengers were aboard”.

Years after the war when I first started work at ICI Billingham as a messenger boy, the main offices were still camouflaged in great impressive patches of browns and greens.

Britain was ill prepared at the start of the war. Dad told us of the wooden anti-aircraft guns that were positioned along the riverbank to fool the German reconnaissance planes. Another ploy during night air raids was to set fire to the bracken and gorse bushes on Eston Hills and Barnaby Moor to lure the bombers away from the town. Dozens of Barrage Balloons on cables were installed to discourage low flying enemy aircraft. Unfortunately, this did not deter the higher-flying bombers.

Marching Chant – ‘White wash on the wall’  1942
This song is a take-off of a Sunday School song
Wash me in the water where you wash your dirty daughter
And I will be whiter than whitewash on the wall

Next: An enemy plane

Previous: Bombing