Members of the of the Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust remembered the victims of German bombing during the Second World War at two events held on Sunday 23rd December.
The first was at the Blitz Memorial Garden at Agecroft Cemetery, where Friends member Jean Coward said that it was 72 years ago this weekend when Salford suffered its heaviest bombing of the war, which brought home to the people the realities of war.
"Each year the Friends Trust hold a memorial event and this year we are remembering new-born twins who died during the air-raids" she added "On the evening of 22nd December, Bridget Smith who lived in Rodney Street, took refuge in Irwell Mission Hall whilst the bombs fell and practically demolished Rodney Street and the surrounding area. She was seven months pregnant, but gave birth to twins and named them Bernard and Irene. Very sadly the twins only lived for five hours. They were later buried in a mass grave here at Agecroft Cemetery, alongside 103 other victims".
It is not clear why the twins' names were not recorded on the Blitz memorial plaque, but the Friends group decided to correct this omission by unveiling a special plaque. Jean Coward thanked Michael Critchley of Critchley Memorials for providing and installing the plaque. She also laid a wreath in memory of all 105 victims of the German bombing.
The second remembrance event was held at Peel Green Cemetery, at the Green family grave. Friends Trust member Gerald Tidswell, explained that on the night of 22nd December 1940 a German bomb hit number 86 Monton Road, Eccles, which was the home of William and Alice Green, killing their three children Elizabeth (aged 16), Bernard (aged 12) and Bernadette (aged 6). Also killed was Elizabeth's boyfriend Able Seaman Clarence Hadfield (aged 18), who was on Christmas leave from HMS Queen Elizabeth and was staying at the Green's house. Clarence was buried alongside other servicemen nearby.
On that same night, a further 22 people died, including eleven at number 94 Gilda Brook Road, which was used as an ARP shelter and First Aid Post, and five members of the Thompson family, next door at No.96.
The Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust was set up as a community link with the Council's Bereavement Services Section, who work together to improve Salford's four cemeteries. Members of the Friends group also carry out research into people buried or commemorated at the cemeteries and have unearthed some fascinating stories about how they lived and died.
During 2013, the Friends will be undertaking a twelve month research project to prepare for the centenary of the start of the First World War.
The Friends will also be undertaking further research about other citizens buried at Salford's four cemeteries to bring its website up to date.
If you would like to join the Friends, membership is free. Just contact Pete Kilvert firstname.lastname@example.org