Joyce Smith remembers:

“It was during play time one day at my school on Bridgewater Street that an RAF plane narrowly missed the school. The pilot had swerved to avoid the school and brought his plane down in the banking nearby. He survived the crash. Our teacher asked us all to write letters to him and we collected money to send him a present in hospital.

When the sirens warned of air raids we had to leave school and go to the air raid shelters on Bridgewater Street. There were four big shelters that all the children from the school would go into. We had to walk in twos. First we had to put on our gas masks and take a lamp, water, biscuits and toilet rolls with us. There were toilets in the shelters and long wooden benches. Inside the shelters it was dark and damp.
The teacher, who was quite old, made us sing songs such as “Drink to me only with thine eyes”-old, sad songs that she had taught us. They were not happy songs. Singing took our minds off the air raids, otherwise we might have been more afraid.

At home we had an Anderson shelter in the garden. We kept it hidden under grass and flowers.

I remember the Italian prisoners of war building prefabs off Pemberton Street. Some of them made wooden toys that they gave to local girls.

Keith Seddon recalls:

"The plane crash referred to by Joyce Smith was one of the high points of my war. I was astonished to see this on the site. What a pity that there isn't a photograph. I was very young at the time of the incident and attended St. John's Ellesmere Primary School in Algernon Road, Walkden. (I lived on Bolton Road.) Joyce Smith must have been at Blair's School. 

I remember being taken with my brother to see the plane which had come to rest across the Ashton Fields pit railway line. If it hadn't been for the slight embankment the plane would have ploughed into the houses in Portland Road. The plane was a Hurricane and probably had engine failure. The sight of Walkden Moor must have been a relief to the pilot.

The picture of the Anderson shelter brings back memories.
 We, too, hid it under grass and flowers. We boys used to sleep in a couple of long drawers from an old dressing table! Our dog loved to sit on the top to survey the neighbourhood.

RAF pilot Baden in uniform

Above: Example of 'pyjamas-like' uniform
  Carol wrote to say that her husband, Eric Haslam, was about 7 years old when the plane crashed. He and two young friends had decided to skip school that day and were out playing when the plane went down.

They fired their homemade bows and arrows to try to warn the pilot that he was in trouble. The boys were among the very first people to reach the downed plane.

When Eric's mother arrived at the scene with his younger brother, one of the first things she wanted to know, of course, was why the boys were there and not in school - OOPs!

Apparently the pilot had a gash on his head which was bleeding down the front of his uniform. Eric's younger brother wanted to know why the pilot was wearing striped pyjamas while he was flying. 

 Walter Cockerell commented:

"Regarding the crashed aircraft, I was standing outside the shop in Coniston Avenue and saw the Hurricane pass overhead, low down with its engine making odd noises. It seems that a lot of us were off school that day.

There were various stories in circulation regarding the identity and fate of the pilot. So it's good to know that he survived the crash and the war. "