We Remember

Memories of Wilkinsons and War-Time North Shields

Harry Rose – Wartime Memories

Harry Rose – Wartime Memories

I met Harry at the 2018 Local History Day event and after a really interesting chat, I asked him to write his memories down. He has. Thanks very much Harry! I was born on March 2nd 1935, so one can say that I was a child of the Depression. I cannot recall much of that...

Mary Gargett – Wilkinson’s Employee 1930s-1941

Mary Gargett – Wilkinson’s Employee 1930s-1941

With many thanks for the following to Edwina Thewliss who contacted us regarding her mother Mary Gargett (1917-2014) via the North Shields Nostalgia Facebook group. Mary was employed at Wilkinson's from, we believe the 1930s up until the bomb destroyed the factory in...

The Ward Family

The Ward Family

Many thanks to site visitor Kathleen Alderson who contributed the following: Obviously before I was born (1950) back in 1941, my aunt Lilian May Ward went to a photographer together with my cousins Lilian and Maureen Ward. She got her 6 week old daughter’s photograph...

Commemoration Event – Memories Book

Commemoration Event – Memories Book

As to be expected one or two things slipped our mind on a very busy evening. One was the Memories Book we placed at the back of the church. We really should've mentioned it more even though Terry did talk about it during his introduction. Anyway, a few eagle-eyed folk...

The Wears family – Stayed at home.

The Wears family – Stayed at home.

Olive Seddon (b1946) tells us... My mam (Sarah Ann Wears (Bertram)) used to go into Wilkinson's shelter. The night it was bombed she was under the stairs at home with my nana (Edith Wears) and my sister Ann. My nana used to go under the stairs as she was scared of the...

Frankland Family – Maureen Rumfitt

Frankland Family – Maureen Rumfitt

Blame it on the Internet goblins but Maureen's original contribution from way back in 2004 just disappeared into the ether. Happily Maureen's been back in touch and we can restore her info, originally published in The Journal (2/7/2004). Thanks Maureen. Maureen...

Further Shelter Memories

Further Shelter Memories

The contributions below have been recently collected from various local Facebook groups. Eileen Collins Elliott My Mam and sister were going to go there that night she changed her mind at the last minute because my sister had been throwing up so they went in the...

Bill Atkinson recalls the Glynn Family

Bill Atkinson recalls the Glynn Family

The guests at my parents wedding. The little lady on the left (as we look at it) of the front row is Ann Glynn. Aunty Ann lost her husband, daughter and mother in the shelter. She spent the rest of her life living at 66 North King Street , as did her daughter Annie....

Emily Meek nee Brooks – Shelter Memories

Emily Meek nee Brooks – Shelter Memories

Emily Brooks was 12 at the time of the Wilkinson's bombing. She went to Linskill School. With her mother, sister and brother, she was a regular user of the basement air raid shelter. The shelter warden, Mrs Lee was her aunt. Emily remembers using the shelter almost...

James Robert Ward memory

James Robert Ward memory

We are indebted to Philip Pattinson and his family for permission to publish the following extract from James Robert Ward's unpublished memoir "The Low Street Boy". Mr Ward lost two cousins and a half-sister in the bombing disaster. Elizabeth Lindores Donkin,...

Hodgson Family Victims

Hodgson Family Victims

Greatly indebted to Neil Hodgson son of Sidney Hodgson for the following information and photographs. Reproduced with his permission.   This photograph shows Henry Henderson Hodgson in his uniform, standing with his wife Alexina (sitting), his daughter Elizabeth...

Nora Sturrock

Nora Sturrock

Dear Sir Have just found your interesting web site . The photo is of my parents George & Nora Sturrock taken in Northumberland Square. Reading about my Mother and Father, George and Nora Sturrock , I note it is said that Sandy & Arthur Frankland were her...

Mrs Heslop – Mother Survived

Mrs Heslop's mother survived the bombing of Wilkinson's shelter. She spent 5 hours in the shelter in the section where the children normally went. She recalls seeing her mother coming home to the back door of the house in a terrible state, covered in soot and brick...

Mrs Tennison – the loss of relatives, the Harmans

Mrs Tennison – the loss of relatives, the Harmans

Mrs Tennison lost her sister in law, Mary Ellen Harman and her 3 children. Mrs Tennison was in the WRAF and was home on leave that night. Apparently Mary Ellen (Nellie) and the children had started off for the shelter but changed their minds and had tried to go back...

Mr Henderson – loss of grandparents

Mr Henderson – loss of grandparents

Mr Henderson lost his grandfather and grandmother: James Henderson MN 83 and Phyllis Henderson MN 91. For some reason his family did not go to Wilkinson's that night as they usually did. He recalls possibly being at the Boro cinema instead to watch Laurel and Hardy....

Joan Robson (Survivor) – loss of Germaine family members

Joan Robson (Survivor) – loss of Germaine family members

Mrs Joan Robson: survivor aged 14 One of only 5 people who survived from the central section of the Shelter. Everyone in the rear section (Smoking area) died. She survived with her mother but lost her father, 2 sisters, brother and family friends. (Ethel Germain MN...

Mr Lough (survivor) – loss of father and sister

Mr Lough (survivor) – loss of father and sister

Mr Lough: survivor aged 8 Lost his father (William Lough MN 38) and sister (Margaret MN 32) at Wilkinson's. He recalls being very nervous during air raids. That night he was trying to sleep in a top bunk when the bomb hit. He remembers being almost suspended in mid...

Kathleen Parkin – Wilkinson labels and debris

I was a child of six on that night. I went with my mother and brother aged 7 to the Boro Cinema in North Shields. Through the middle of the show we heard muffled explosions, but someone said it was breaking bottles, so we just continued to watch the film which was...

Jennie Ford – Helping the Survivors

"I am 92 years old now. At the time we lived quite near the shelter. My mother, Mrs M Forrest was a volunteer and was on duty that night when the bomb fell on Wilkinson's shelter. Her station that time was at Northumberland Street Mission. She went to the shelter and...

Henry P Rose – loss of Sandy Frankland

Henry P Rose – loss of Sandy Frankland

I was six years old in the March of that year and my father came home on leave in the May, just in time for the bombing. When the sirens went we went to our own shelter which was in the yard. Father was not happy with this because he felt that we were too near the...

Rose Graham nee Nutman – Acid Burn Victims

Rose was a 22 year old nurse working at Hexham Hospital. She recalls many survivors being brought in by ambulance, most of them with horrific acid burns caused by the chemicals used in the factory. She and other medical staff worked for days in treating the injured....

Lilian Fraser (nee Reaveley) – relation survived

"My grandfather's brother was in the explosion at Wilkinson's and was supposedly blown through the roof with the blast. He was very badly disfigured and was henceforth in and out of Preston Hospital. His name was Robert Reaveley..." Lilian needs more info about...

Mrs Lorrison – a lucky escape!

I was 13 at the time and we lived at 23 King Street: Wilkinson's was just over the road. We used the shelter often but very luckily not that night. My father was in an exempt occupation - he worked for the gas company. I remember he told my mother that if there was a...

Mr. T.R. Hall – Auxiliary Fireman

Mr. T.R. Hall – Auxiliary Fireman

Before going on duty as a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service I had been paying a visit to a relation in Linskill Terrace, North Shields. On cycling to my station in Percy Main where we had commandeered the St. John Ambulance hut, I heard what I took to be a bomb....

Mildred Cook (survivor) – eye-witness, loss of relatives

Mildred Cook (survivor) – eye-witness, loss of relatives

I was Mildred Cook then. We, me sister aged 5, me brother 7, and I was 14...we had to go up and stay with me mother's twin sisters in Queen Street, while me mother was away. We stayed in Queen Street, the next street to where the bomb was. My mother and I didn't...

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