ZEPPELIN RAID ON BOLTON on the night of 25th September 1916.
At midnight on the above
date Bolton was visited by a Zeppelin Airship which arrived over the town about
midnight (summer time). It came
from the Northeast, passing over from the direction of Ramsbottom, where it did
some damage, without fortunately causing any loss of life in that neighbourhood.
It entered this district in the neighbourhood of Astley Bridge, dropped a
bomb in a field near Eden’s Orphanage.
Crossing over in the direction of Halliwell it dropped another in Hobart
Street off Halliwell Road. It then
proceeded over Harwoods Mills & Mortfield Croft, dropped a bomb on Chorley
Old Road opposite the Vale. It then
dropped another bomb on Chorley on Chorley Old Road opposite the entrance to
Avenue Street, but did no damage. It
then made a circuit over the park, where a bomb was dropped near the flowerbeds,
but which did not explode. Crossing
over Bullfield it there dropped another which did very little damage. But two houses in Willington Street were destroyed by bombs.
But in Kirk Street, five or six cottages were entirely demolished and
fifteen lives were lost. The property adjoining was very materially damaged, windows
and doors, brick walls and roofs, out buildings etc., being very much wrecked.
Crossing over to Parrott Street another bomb was dropped and the
outbuildings abutting on the back street were very much damaged, but no lives
lost. Continuing on its destructive
career a bomb was dropped through the roof of Trinity Church, through the roof
of a fruiterers shop at the corner of Old Hall Street South and Ashburner
Street, all three of which proved to be “Duds” and did not explode.
Considering the valuable property it passed over the amount of damage
done was very small; Haslam’s and Wolfenden Mills were passed over, the gas
works, valuable works in the centre of the town, the Town Hall, and most
valuable properties in the town escaped injury and £3000 would cover
amply all the damage done. Apart from the loss of life, the material damage was
insignificant and the raiders hardly justified their murderous errand.
On the two following days the town was visited by thousands – yes tens
of thousands of people from places as far as Liverpool to view the damage and
from early morning till late at night the streets near this school were crowded
with curious sightseers. Motor
Cars, Motor bicycles, bicycles pedestrians, horse vehicles, brakes, lorries and
even donkey carts wended their ways in hurried procession to view the wreckage
and havoc wrought, after which the crowds became smaller and smaller, until in
about the course of a week the town assumed its normal condition.
The mayor opened a fund on behalf of the poor stricken victims, numbers
of families were housed and fed in the Flash Street Special School and the
benevolence of the town was showered upon the unfortunate sufferers in no