On the 12th September 1940, eight civilians were killed (many lying undiscovered in the wreckage for weeks) and a further 14 injured, at their homes in and around Blackpool’s Seed Street.
Enemy bombs thought to be aimed for Blackpool North Train Station blitzed the streets from an aircraft that had just raided Manchester. (The site today is occupied by the new Town Hall offices and Sainsbury’s Supermarket.)
This unremarkable, unmarked plot in Layton Cemetery is the eternal resting place of Geoff and Sarah Donovan, who sadly were both killed during the total destruction of their terraced home on that fateful night.
Blackpool suffered only three direct hits during the war (WWII) and this was the most devastating of them all. The German aircraft was spotted by Walter Dutton, who was working as a lift operator at Blackpool Tower. He looked on in horror as he witnessed a single plane break ranks and swoop rapidly downwards, heading inland before discharging a 500lb high-explosive. All but one of the Seed Street houses were destroyed.
The Vickers Factory at Squires Gate (producer of Wellington Bombers) and nearby Lindale Gardens suffered a non lethal bombing. Leopold Grove was also hit, but by some stroke of luck no one was injured.
It is said documents have been found suggesting Blackpool was deliberately spared by the Luftwaffe as Hitler had a special fondness for the resort. The Fuehrer was hoping to become Chancellor of Britain and wanted to keep Blackpool exactly as it was so he could enjoy the town himself and send his battle fatigued troops for some rest and recuperation by the sea!