Anglo-Saxon | 2

How many can recall having a Bomb Shelter located in their garden? In Marshall Road (Levenshulme) we had a doorless, flat topped brick building with a floor area of approximately 4 sq.m. There was a small frameless window in one side which, along with the shelter having no door, allowed for the dissipation of any pressure resulting from a bomb explosion close bye. Needless to say, this shelter was used as our gangs headquarters by my brother and I although the gang was pretty much imaginary as we were the only members. From this shelter some of our more daring Commando operations were planned and executed.

For example, prior to electrification of the railway line whose embankment ran directly behind the garden, we planned a sabotage mission against the Waiting Room of the local Railway Station. The newly installed heating in the Waiting Room consisted of an electric fire that was operated by pressing a big red button on the front of the unit. This then set in motion a timer which an earlier stake out mission had determined to be of 5 minutes duration before automatically switching the fire off or, in our case, the creation of a gigantic explosion.

One winter evening during a foggy spell (which was common in Manchester in the 50’s and 60’s) my brother and I climbed the embankment and crawled, in true Commando style of course, along the railway line towards the station where we remained motionless and hidden from view by the end of the platform. Once the platform was clear of the ever watchful and fearless armed sentry (Station Master) we mounted the platform, made a dash for the waiting room and to the surprise of waiting passengers crashed through the door into the room before hitting the fires red button. We of course made our escape by returning the same way although this route was later modified as the result of our mother questioning why we often had such terribly dirty knees in our trousers. The new route entailed legging it further down the platform and down the stairs leading into Albert Road. Not only was the risk of capture and interrogation higher but this escape route was also much longer.

OK, whilst this story is presented in a lighthearted fashion it is never the less true and serves to illustrate that back then we kids didn’t require iPhones and iPads etc - we made our own entertainment by using our imagination. And no - strangely enough, we never ever got caught.

Alan Ingham, Born in 1950's, Manchester
November 2021
Source: Facebook Group "We Grew Up in Manchester"