The War Years
German Luftwaffe Visit Minera
Although originally thought to be out of range of enemy bombers, the Fall of France left North East Wales vulnerable to bombing raids. During the war, 29 people were killed as a result of bombing, and 95 were injured. Although these numbers were relatively small compared to the 3,996 who were killed in neighbouring Liverpool, they represented a huge tragedy for those involved, and emphasised the exposure of civilians in this 'total war', even those living in rural areas.
Nearby Liverpool was singled out as one of Germany’s main strategic targets, and in particular the city was to suffer devastating attacks in May 1941, prior to the transfer of a large part of the Luftwaffe to the east, ready for the invasion of the USSR. In addition to specific attacks, North East Wales was to suffer due to its proximity.
On the night of 30th/31st August 1940 a German aircraft jettisoned incendiary bombs onto Minera Mountain, which in turn started a large fire within the mountains' gorse and bracken. Over the following two nights further aircraft of the german Luftwaffe on their way to bomb Liverpool were attracted by the blaze over the mountain in the belief it was a strategic target, and in turn dropped their bombs. The fire was allowed to burn until 28 square miles of mountain were alight.
The Germans thought they had hit a very important inflammable target and bombed the area heavily. The mountain was ablaze from Garth to Minera and the smoke could be smelt thirty miles away. German radio penetrated our air waves with the voice of Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) and he broadcast to the world that Monsanto Factory in Cefn had been burned to a cinder. But the Old Works was still producing — nestling in the 'bottom of the Cefn' by the River Dee. The most famous unexploded bomb landed in Osborne Street, Rhos where an early-rising tidy lady brushed the mess into the newly made bomb hole. The lady was immediately sent to heaven where she could brush for eternity.
This last paragraph was borrowed from the following weblink...
War time memories...
Merfyn Williams recalls his childhood in Minera
I was 7 years old when the war started. There was a lot of mobilisation going
on to get organised at the beginning, after all it was only 21 years since the
Great War had ended and in that time there had been a big advance in aircraft
We lived on Llewellyn Road and our house was one of a small number with
cellars. There were regular siren alerts from the siren situated at the police
station and people were told to go to our cellar until the all clear. A blast
wall of sandbags was placed in front of the cellar entrance, later replaced by
a brick wall. I really enjoyed playing in the ensuing sand pit. At a stage a
brick air raid shelter was built on Cae Moss between Waen Rd. and Llewellyn Rd.
It had thick walls and a concrete reinforced roof and no windows. Others were
built around the village including the school playground and we used to
practise transferring from classrooms to the shelters carrying the ever present
gas masks in their cardboard boxes.As a result of this activity we all knew one
another well and it made the neighbourhood friendly so that we helped one
another and shared what we had fairly.
At this time the coalmines wee working to maximum capacity and there were three
shifts, starting at 6 a.m., 2p.m. and 10p.m.Old fashioned buses ran all day and
night transporting the miners to the various coal mines, mostly to Llay Main,
Gresford and Bersham. There was also Hafod that was for Rhos miners as I
recall. Some of these buses were really grotty and had come from other regions,
but they gave a rhythm to the day and night. It was a common sight to see the
miners sitting on the pavements at the bus stops with their round snapping tins
and drinks. Extra rations of cheese were allowed for their stamina.
Sometime after 1940 it was decided to build a runway at Borras outside Wrexham.
Huge amounts of foundation materials were needed. In the late 30s the Vron
Colliery had closed. In Talwrn was a massive bank of slag which we called The
Bonc. It was an exciting play area and we used to slide down the slopes on tin
trays or sheeting and get filthy black in the process. Then dozens of lorries
appeared from who knows where and there was a continuous stream going backwards
and forwards having been loaded by huge cranes the like of which we had never
seen before. The bonc was considerably reduced in size by the end. During this
time a German plane flew over the bonc to investigate and frightened my father
greatly as he was there on his A. R. P. patrol.
From our house on Llewelyn Road we could see for a long distance across the
Cheshire plane. We used to watch dog fight between Spitfires and German raiders
which were quite exciting and there was usually a cheer when we saw the
explosion when the enemy was brought down.
About this time too a reservoir was built in the park opposite the library so
that there would be a ready supply of water for putting out fires. The site
later became a tennis court. I think the water storage must have been built
after the big fire at the drill hall situated along side The Shade which was
burnt to the ground after a Saturday night dance. The hall was used by the Home
Guard for practises and it had an armoury where bullets and hand grenades and
other arms were stored, There was absolute chaos when the fire took hold with
bullets and shrapnel whizzing about the place and every one had to keep well
away and let the whole thing burn itself out. There was nothing left, just the
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Ref: This page includes extracts from BBC People's War.