Looking Back: World War Two’s impact on Morecambe

Airmen on Morecambe seafront during World War Two.
Airmen on Morecambe seafront during World War Two.

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and Looking Back is keen to hear from our readers with any photographs from that time.

But this week the Second World War is our topic.

During World War Two the Government took over a large number of seaside resorts in the UK, including Morecambe.

The Royal Air Force could be seen everywhere in town during the war. The Midland Hotel became an RAF hospital, the Grosvenor Hotel became its offices, the Clarendon Hotel its HQ and the Broadway Hotel offices too. All were requisitioned at two days’ notice. The ground floor of the Alhambra later became an RAF depot.

During the London Blitz of 1940/41, 424 children and 232 mothers arrived at the Promenade station as evacuees.

Morecambe was attacked three times during the war. Number 10 Lauriston Avenue suffered a direct hit on March 13 1941, where an elderly couple Mr and Mrs Hewitt were blown from their beds into the middle of the road and killed. There were 26 bombs dropped on Heysham Golf Course on July 30 1940 resulting in the death of only one cow.

By the winter of 1943 the resident population had grown to 67,000, three times the peacetime figure. Many were RAF, 5,000 were civil servants who turned Morecambe into what was known as ‘Whitehall by the Sea’.

One of the primary sources of information from that time is the RAF station magazine, known as ‘Morecambe Wings’.

A front cover of the magazine from July 11 1941 is dominated by an article called ‘Patriotism’, a reminder to all readers of why the British were involved in the war.

“It is one of the most shocking features of the Nazi regime that it has deliberately shattered the fellowship of truth and has accepted as its only goal the discovery of politically convenient myths. It has attempted to base the moral strength of a nation on self-invented lies.

“If genuine international goodwill is to be accomplished, it can only be through the acceptance of other people as they are, with all their differences of outlook, interests and endowments.

“The good which has been done by the British Empire has depended upon the sense of justice. British patriotism is true patriotism because it is founded on freedom and justice for all...”

Strong stuff.

Thanks to Alf Thistlethwaite from Lancaster and Roger Bingham’s book ‘Lost Resort: The Flow and Ebb of Morecambe’ for the information.