1941 ~ 1943


22nd January -
TOBRUK in N Africa fell to the British Army.

March -
Between this time and November half a million home shelters were issued for free.
Named Morrison after the Home Secretary, they were steel boxes with wire mesh sides, consisting of 219 parts in all.
They were roughly 7 x 4 feet and under 3 feet high.
They could be used as a table by day and when the air raid siren went off the family could crawl in one of the sides.
They were intended for up to 3 people, but one Skelton resident of the time remembers:-
"We had a mattress in there and after we'd climbed in the family next door came round and there we were, eight or nine of us, all laid like bloody sardines in a can."

27th May -
BISMARCK SUNK - The "unsinkable" German battleship "Bismarck" was destroyed by the Royal Navy in the Atlantic.

8th June -

29th September -
HOLLYBUSH TO BE DECORATED IN WARTIME - Only by the local Painters though. See advert.
21st October -
SKELTON BOMBED - A German air-raid dropped bombs over the Skelton area.
Of the half dozen or so that fell one came very close to hitting North Skelton Mine head.
The rest, fortunately, fell in the open fields between there and Trout Hall Farm.

6th December -
RUSSIANS FIGHT BACK - On the Eastern Front, Russians launched a massive counter attack.

7th December -
PEARL HARBOUR - Japanese attack Pearl Harbour. USA and Britain declared war on Japan and Germany declared War on USA.


Skelton Corn Mill Prior to Bombing

And the rear of the building after.

Arthur "Bomber" Harris.

15th February -
SINGAPORE fell to the Japanese.

February -
Arthur Harris was appointed head of Royal Air Force Bomber Command.
From now on the Germans would know the terror of the "blitzkrieg" that they themselves had started with the indiscriminate killing of civilians.
Harris has since been criticised by simple minded Lefties and modern bleeding hearts, who would re-write History, for waging war on civilians, but there is little doubt that the German leadership would have used the atomic bomb on Allied cities if they had developed it first and treated we Brits like they did the peoples of the other Nations if they had ever managed to invade.
Charles Holmes [see Skelton Stories page 82] and Squadron Leader Joe Reed. DFC with his parents [see page 51].
The Bomber Command Medal issued, to the Nation's disgrace, almost 70 years after the War ended, when most of those who survived the perilous sorties over enemy territory had died of old age.

A North Skelton Miner's payslip for 1943.
The production of Steel was vital for the Nation's War effort and miners who tried to enlist were told their jobs were just as important.

16th April -
A German air-raid dropped bombs on the Skelton area.
Skelton Water Mill, just below the Castle took a direct hit.
One bomb landed not far behind the Wharton Arms. One just missed the Kennels.
Another caused a crater in Marske Rd, not far below the Duke William Hotel.
Many windows were shattered all over Skelton by the blasts, but compared to many other parts of England we were let off lightly.

30th May -
RAF 1,000 BOMBERS - Royal Air Force launched the first 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne, Germany.

4th June -
MIDWAY - USA - defeated the Japanese at the Naval Battle of Midway.

June 21 :
TOBRUK - Germans under Rommel in N Africa recaptured Tobruk.

1st to 27th July -
FIRST EL ALAMEIN - First Battle of El Alamein. German/Italian attacks halted by the Allies.

14th July.
2341562 Signalman Gordon Peel.
22nd Armd Bde Sigs, Royal Corps of Signals.
Age:22. Son of Gordon and Lilian Peel, of Skelton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire.
Memorial Column 52, El Alamein Memorial. Click to see his memorial

4th September -
James Coates, aged 36 of 46 Cockburn St, Lingdale died as a result of an accident in North Skelton Mine. Son of Sarah and the late George Coates.
He was buried at Boosbeck Cemetery. An inquest in Guisborough was conducted by the coroner Bernard Wilkinson.
Robert Parker, a mines Deputy of Fenton St, Boosbeck stated that he examined the place where Coates was to work at 5.45 a m and found it quite safe.
Later he heard that an accident had occurred and he found Coates trapped. About a ton of stone had fallen.
Thomas George Edwards, an ironstone miner of the Commercial Hotel, Boosbeck, said he was working with Coates.
Both inspected the place and everything appeared to be in order.
Coates went to break up some stone which had previously come down, when, without warning there was a fall of stone part of which came down on top of Coates.
Dr W A Kirkpatrick gave the cause of death as being a fracture base of the skull.

23rd October to 3rd November -
The Allies, under Montgomery, forced the Germans into a retreat that Churchill called the "the beginning of the end".

24th October.
327105 Trooper George William Breckon.
Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons, Royal Armoured Corps. Age: 21.
Son of George William and Annie Breckon, of Skelton, Yorkshire.
Grave XI. A. 27, El Alamein War Cemetery. Click to see his memorial
13th November.
Skelton and Brotton Council advertised for tenders to convert part of the Institute into a Restaurant.
It is not presently known when the first meals were served there.
Originally called 'Community Feeding Centres', the first ones had started in 1940 and were given the more appealing name by Winston Churchill himself.
By 1943 there were over 2,000 nationwide and they continued to be used until 1947.
In these days of strict food rationing and some people bombed out of their homes, they aimed at ensuring that no one starved and providing a balanced diet when many food items were restricted.
They were run by Councils or Voluntary Agencies and provided meals for a maximum price of 9 old pence [3.75 new pence].
For this amount customers could buy a three-course meal.
Unlike the MacDonald/Pizza type rubbish that many people become obese on today, in those days they were accustomed to decent meals consisting of meat and two vegetables with potatoes, which acted as a substitute for bread.
Fruit was hard to obtain and with its high vitamin C content great use was made of cabbage.
I well remember the teachers at Skelton Infants insisting in 1945 that every bit of that strong dark green sea-weed was eaten.
But, it is said, that in these war years, British children were the healthiest and fittest than at any time in History.
El Alamein Memorial.

14th November.
1882991 Sapper Ernest Leslie Davison.
296 Field Coy, Royal Engineers.
Age: 23.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. L. Davison, of Skelton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire.
Memorial Column 47, El Alamein Memorial. Click to see his memorial

19th November -
STALINGRAD - The German Sixth Army were surrounded at Stalingrad marking the start of Soviet superiority in the East.


23rd January -
TRIPOLI - British forces captured Tripoli.

2nd February -
GERMAN SURRENDER - Sixth Army surrendered to the Russians at Stalingrad.

2nd March -
GERMAN RETREAT. German Army in N Africa retreated from Tunisia.
HMS Dasher.

27th March -
SKELTON WAR DEATH of C/JX 374404 Ordinary Seaman James Alan Lightwing.
H.M.S. Dasher, Royal Navy.
Age: 21.
Son of John Robert and Ada May Lightwing, of Skelton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire.
Memorial 70, 2, Chatham Naval Memorial.

Click to see his memorial
16th May -
GERMANY BOMBED - German industial sites in the Ruhr heavily bombed.

5th July -
KURSK - Russians and Germans fought the biggest tank Battle ever at Kursk.
Local Homeguard about this time.

HOME GUARD - After the threat of invasion receded in 1940 the Home Guard continued to train and were not stood down until December 1944.
They were eventually all provided with uniforms and equipment. Old Shaft Cottages were used for target practice about this time and demolished.
Old Shaft had been the first ironstone mine in the Skelton area and these dwellings were built around the time of its opening in 1861.
At the census of 1881, 7 miners and their families, 43 people in all, were living there.
In 1901 there were 5 families and 33 in all. They were finally abandoned in 1939.

9th July -
SICILY - Allied forces land on Sicily.
Old Shaft Cottages as they were in 1939.
21st July.
NEW INN LANDLORD BANKRUPT - London Gazette. Bankruptcy.
Barker, Henry, residing and carrying on business at The New Inn, Skelton-in-Cleveland, in the county of York, Locensed Victualler, formerly residing and carrying on business at The Cross Keys Inn, Kirkgate, Thirsk, in the said county of York. Court Middlesbrough. No. of Matter 30 of 1932. Amount per 1s. 8d. First or Final, or otherwise Supplemental. When Payable July 21, 1943. Where Payable 80, High Street, Stockton-on-Tees.

25th July -
MUSSOLINI overthrown in Italy.

30th August.
1149159 Sergeant [Pilot] Kenneth Knaggs of the 26 O.Y.U Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve was killed over France.
He was aged 22 and the son of George William and Alice Knaggs, of Skelton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire.
He is buried in Grave: Plot 4. Row AA. Grave 12, Longuenesse [St Omer] Souvenir Cemetery, France. Click to see his memorial

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