THE drone of heavily-laden Luftwaffe bombers circling overhead became a familiar and terrifying sound for Lancashire people during the first part of the Second World War.

In May 1941 bombs landed near Atherleigh Station.

The first fell in a garden between two rows of houses in Furnival Street, with three homes demolished.

Sixty-year-old Mrs A Knowles sadly died on the way to hospital after her house received the full force of the blast.

Bombs also fell harmlessly on fields between Astley and Boothstown while patients in Astley Hospital had a narrow escape when two bombs fell close by and demolished a joiners’ shop.

In Tyldesley, two days before Christmas 1940 an anti-aircraft shell blew a hole in a house in Henry Street and four months later in Atherton two bombs were dropped landing at the junction of Car Bank Street and Devonshire Road on the Hag Fold estate.

Another fell a quarter of a mile away beside a railway embankment creating craters 20 feet deep and 40 feet across.

Because of damage to houses around 200 people had to seek shelter in neighbouring homes. Surprisingly there were only slight injuries to 14 people.

Ten days later, two more bombs landed – one at a farm close to Atherton Station and another off Bolton Road behind the Station Hotel.

Many houses were demolished and others badly damaged.

Two men were killed and others injured while cattle in a farm shippon were also killed.