An unusual post this one. Unusual in that the pub that is the centre of interest is one that I've never been in and have never seen. I have never even set foot in the village where it used to trade. However, today seems to be an appropriate day to tell its tale.
Several years ago I came across this picture of a mystery pub on the Norfolk Pubs website and in an attempt to identify its whereabouts I asked some of my on-line cycling associates for help. One of them identified it as the Cyclist's Arms in Freckleton.
The Cyclist's Arms is just one of a number of hostelries that used to exist in the Lancashire village. Along with the Mariners' Arms, Lamaleach Arms and the Bush Inn it's no longer trading. Originally the Tewitt Arms, it opened its doors for the first time in 1871 and closed them for the last time in 1938. The building was flattened a year later.
A former pub flattened. That's not so unusual, is it? So why this post about a bygone boozer from a place that I have never visited? And why today? Well, on the 23rd August 1944 , seventy five years ago today, a B-24 Liberator of the USAAF attempted to land at nearby Warton airfield. It didn't make it. Twenty tons of metal and the odd gallon or two of aviation fuel can cause a bit of damage. One of the buildings that was lost was the former Cyclist's Arms. Also hit that day were a cafe and the village primary school. In total 61 people were killed, among them 38 children. Wartime reporting restrictions meant that news of the disaster was suppressed because of the possible effect on morale and even today relatively few folk are aware of it. Whilst not on the same scale, it has been referred to by some as England's Aberfan.
If you want to know a bit more, Wikipedia has an entry.