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German Fighter machine guns bus

wessex

master brummie
My mother Elsie,86 yo God Bless her,and still able to spring a huge surprise.

During the Birmingham blitz my mother was on a bus from Walsall one early morning,going to her work at Turner Bros near Summer Lane.
Going along the Walsall Road,Perry Barr,near the Crematorium they were attacked by a Nazi fighter.This had got under the barrage ballons,and escaped the ack-ack from Perry Bar Park.
For some reason the buses went in convoys,and while her bus was being attacked the driver was killed by the bullets.

While my father's war record was known to me my mother's was a surprise till the other day.
She was a member of a first aid post,spending most nights sleeping on a stretcher

Her other 'hobby' was the home guard,under Lt Col Austen she spent a lot of time on duty with her fellow workers and others.
This unit was made up of Turner Bros workers,Fruit market workers,as Mr Austen ran a business from there,and people from Richmond House.
All these had tall buildings,with flat roofs.They used to signal to each other from those.

My grandfather on mums side was a sniper in the Great war,and how amusing to find out mum was also a useful shot after her HG training.

I'm so glad I got this story from mum,and even happier I could share it with those here who may be interested.Soon the generation who fought the Nazi scourge will be largely gone,so we really need places like this to preserve the tales of the ordinary folk who we all owe so much to.

Tim
 
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Louisa

master brummie
Hi Tim
What a very interesting family story, you must be very proud of your mum. In recording your families involvement in the home guard you may like to have a look at this interesting site about Warwickshire Home guard.

https://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscencesWarkssstaffshg.htm

I think I am right in saying that ChrisM who is a member of the BHF is involved in the Home Guard site and he along with others on this forum who have a similar War interest may be able to give you lots more information.

Louisa
 

wessex

master brummie
Thanks Louisa,I'm giving it a whirl now.Unfortunately mum is blind in one eye,and has no net at her home anyway,I would have liked her to see it.
 

Di.Poppitt

master brummie
Hi Wessex, if your mom has more memories of her time in the Home Guard I'm sure ChrisM would love to read of them. I don't think we have memories of another lady in the HG. :)
 
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Iriselsie

knowlegable brummie
Hi Wessex,

I can relate to that story of your moms I worked at Kynoch's (ICI)
Witton, I used to go in the Perry Barr gate Holford Drive and the people were machine gunned going to work, the bullet holes were in the road and houses for years. fortunately for me I went in the Witton gate that morning.

Iriselsie.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the suggestion to Wessex/Tim, Di. I very much hope he can come up with something in due course.

I do have a description by a lady Home Guard member, although based just outside the city boundary, in the Aldridge area. An interesting commentary on the times and the position of women in a man's world. https://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/HomeGuardingPages/63staffshg.htm

That's a fascinating memory, Iriselsie. Are you aware of one or two glimpses of Kynoch in wartime, here and on linked pages:
https://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences28staffshg.htm ?

Chris
 

Iriselsie

knowlegable brummie
Thanks for the suggestion to Wessex/Tim, Di. I very much hope he can come up with something in due course.

I do have a description by a lady Home Guard member, although based just outside the city boundary, in the Aldridge area. An interesting commentary on the times and the position of women in a man's world. https://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/HomeGuardingPages/63staffshg.htm

That's a fascinating memory, Iriselsie. Are you aware of one or two glimpses of Kynoch in wartime, here and on linked pages:
https://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences28staffshg.htm ?

Chris

I will certainly look that up Chris.
I was at Kynoch's aged 14yrs. 1943 - 1948. starting in the Postal dept. and learning office work, telephone operating, etc.
My mother was conscripted to C factory(bullet shop)because she had no young children. They caught a german spy, all the ladies were amazed a very handsome chap. Were all agog when he was carted off.
Dad also worked there in General Services. and did Gas tests (testing the equipment)

Iriselsie.:)
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Does anyone have any further information about the German spy? My mother used to tell this story, but we were never quite sure if it was just a leg-pull.

Big Gee
 

paul stacey

master brummie
hi all
mom told me that a german plane machine gunned a bus and some shops on the soho road handsworth.
paul
 

col h

master brummie
There used to be chunks out of the bricks at Wimbush'e in Little Green La, I was told they were from a german fighter straffing it........

Also, I was told that A german fighter fired on children on the swings at Garrison lane Park.

Anybody else heard them, or were they just leg pulls ?
 

Arkrite

master brummie
It surprises me how relatively few reports of air to ground attacks on transport by German aircraft there were. Any one know the full total ? Were the reports banned by the government and now the only witnesses left are aged people who sadly are rarely listened to and whose veracity is questioned ?
Having seen the camera gun film the Allied Air Forces turned this sort of attack into an art.Specialised fighter bombers with long range tanks and used in large numbers were very effective against the transport system in occupied europe.The Germans used this tactic in small scale thank goodness.
Very risky for the pilot ,terrifying with horrific results for the victims.
 

Iriselsie

knowlegable brummie
Hi Big Gee,

The spy caught in 'C' Factory (Bullet shop) was true NO leg-pull, I worked in the office opposite and saw the commotion of police taking this chap off,he wore a brown cowgown, as they were called then. and my mom confirmed it. Never a dull moment.

Iriselsie
 
J

Jonathan

Guest
The account of the machine-gunned bus really fascinates me as I've heard a number of anecdotes about German fighters attacking specific civillian targets. Shortly before her death, my girlfriend's grandmother told us a story about how an ME109 had made a low level machine gunning pass on a road she was walking along in Longbridge - she claimed that she dived over a wall to avoid its fire. The thing is, bless her soul, she was somewhat given to - how can I put this gently? - embellishing anecdotes somewhat, so to be honest with you I always took this story with a bit of a pinch of salt. Does anyone else have stories of fighters engaging specific targets at low level? Does anyone know what Luftwaffe policy was on this? Were pilots given carte blanche to attack random targets? Does anyone have relatives who were injured in this way? I'm a newcomer to the forum but have been thinking about starting a thread to find out whether this was a common occurrence...
 

Arkrite

master brummie
Hi Jonathan, I am no specialist so probably know as much as you. I remember my dad saying railway signal boxes were often targets for hit and run bombers which makes sense if you think about it. While air photography on the Allied side is easy to find I can only recall one set off pictures of a German hit and run and that was somewhere in Kent. But as I say I am no expert. Your best bet is to visit some of the war forums . I always recommend WW2talk.com because of the British bias and I find them a friendly bunch with no question unworthy of a reply.( some forums can be quite snobby if you don't have a good knowledge of the subject....Flippin Elitists.)
As to some of our older relatives. Some have razor sharp minds and good memories whilst with others time takes its toll. Memory of events is a strange thing.Any ex-Copper on this forum can tell you eye witness statements can vary wildly of the same happening. Plus the passage of time can alter what a person remembers.
My Mum in Law , who died two years ago at 88 yrs, worked at the Longbridge Works during the war and I remember her saying that low flying aircraft sometimes machined gunned the area.In her last five years it was noticed that she had a tendency to " re-write history". During the final days of her life she was diagnosed as having Alzhiemers .When you live close to someone it can be difficult to recognize the gradual failing of both mental and physical health.I have been going through photos of my Mrs who died last November. The change in her appearance over three years is shocking. Any way I will stop rambling and say don't disregard the memories of older folk you may miss something important.
 

Ray Barrett

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN R.I.P.
Arkrite,
With respect to your mum-in-law,she could have been spot on.I recall a memory of the Austin works being machine gunned,if I have it right they mistook it for Birmetals Woodgate,which was built by German engineers,before the war.
My mom told me of my young uncle Phil and myself being shot at by a fighter,but I was a squirt and didn't remember the incident,my wife asked how could you not recall something so traumatic? the answer is everytime I went out with "our Phil" something dramatic always happened.:rolleyes:
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
The account of the machine-gunned bus thinking about starting a thread to find out whether this was a common occurrence...
German fighter planes definitely flew over Brum in daylight during WW2, as a youngster at school I saw one, but a single engine ME109 did not have anywhere near enough range to reach Birmingham. The one I saw was a ME110 twin engine fighter, it was flying very low over Perry Beeches school and as kids we were quite excited to see a plane with the swastika on it's fin.
I have mentioned it in another thread here
https://forum.birminghamhistory.co.uk/showthread.php?t=21044&page=2&highlight=me110
It wasn't using it's guns when I saw it but I was in our house one night on the receiving end of a little 'present' dropped by the Luftwaffe.:)
 

Arkrite

master brummie
Hi Ray ,my Mum in law Kate ( then known as Win or Winnie Weston ) worked at the Austin Works during the war. Her Husband worked in Cardiff making bomber parts. When Kate told me about the machine gunning she had all her marbles.It was only in her last years that her memory became unreliable.....Arkrite
 
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