Members were entertained and enlightened about the effects of World War II on Great Ayton and the surrounding area in an illustrated lecture given by David Taylor and Ian Pearce from the Great Ayton Local history Society. The main themes of the evening were an aircraft crash, defence and the Army Camp.
David Taylor began by describing some of the research undertaken in Great Ayton and gave an account of an aircraft crash on the moors on February 11th 1940. A Hudson of 220 Squadron came down on Easby Moor, near to Captain Cook’s Monument. All but one of the crew died and the survivor managed to crawl, depite his injuries, to Aireyholme Farm. The crewman recovered but tragically lost his life later in the war.
Ian Pearce pursued the theme of defence and gave some insight into the working of the Home Guard. Not only did this group of 600 volunteers perform the tasks of defence we have come to associate with the Home Guard, but also had an elite section which operated in great secrecy. This section had secret hiding places and was charged causing as much disruption to an invasion force as possible. In addition, it had the deadly task of killing those who had been identified as potential collaborators in the event of an invasion. There was no invasion and the records have been destroyed. Ian also mentioned the Starfish site on the moors which served as a decoy to draw enemy bombers away from other targets. A hazardous job to light up the site in order to fool the enemy into dropping bombs onto you!
Finally, a description of the army camp ay Great Ayton was given. The camp was substantial and had buildings, petrol dump, a kitchen and a parade ground. It also served as an evacuation site for Middlesbrough. The camp has gone and the site is used for houses.
Overall, the information given here, and the other items omitted, provided a fascinating view of a world event and it effect on this part of Yorkshire.
Ingleby Greenhow Village Hall
Monday 14th November 2011
David Taylor and Ian Pearce
Defending The Home Front