January 1, 1970

Crowle at War: Part 2. Gas Masks, Invasion Defence – submitted by Bill Goldthorp

By Bill Goldthorp

These were issued to every body early on in the war; there was a serious concern that the Germans would drop gas bombs aimed at the civilian population. We had to carry the gas mask at all times and did so for the first two years of the war. It was believed that the Germans did not use gas because we were quite capable of retaliating, with a devastating effect on their population as well. Gas is of course unreliable and blows back onto the side, which uses it. There seemed to be an unwritten agreement that neither side would use gas.

After Dunkirk in 1940 concrete poles were erected in the fields. In addition to paratroops, the Germans used glider borne troops in the early part of the war. What happened around Crowle probably happened where-ever the terrain was suitable for glider landings. Farms and villages were surrounded by small fields, trees and hedges. In between were large areas clear of trees and other obstacles, suitable for glider landings. Reinforced concrete posts, twelve foot long and six inches thick were set up in the fields, four foot in the ground eight above, in a grid pattern so that it was impossible for a glider to land without hitting one. Hitting a post, the glider would turn over and most of the soldiers in it be killed or badly wounded.

A year later when the danger was over, they were taken up and used for other things. My father got hold of about ten and used them as borders for the paths in our back garden.
They were still there, in 1980 when I sold the house and bought a bungalow in Hyde for my parents who were getting frail.