‘Horbury’s part in Hitler’s Downfall’

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Historian Christine Cudworth, of Horbury, has been researching the role the town played in the war effort.

Charles Roberts, Sutcliffes, Sykes, later known as Slazengers, and Leather Products were some of the town’s companies contracted to produce war supplies, under secret codename missions.

It is thought that Charles Roberts produced some of the minesweepers used to defend Mulberry Harbour, the portable port which was used to rapidly offload cargo onto the Normandy beaches during the D-Day invasions.

And Sykes at Horbury Bridge are thought to have been responsible for the production of the butts for Lanchester submachine rifles used in battle.

Mrs Cudworth said: “Before I started researching material for my talk on “Horbury’s part in Hitler’s Downfall”, I could never have imagined what Horbury was like during the war years.

“The town took on a totally different role. It was a centre for Northern Command where many hundreds of conscripted men came to train.

“Charles Roberts, Sutcliffes, Sykes (Slazengers) and the Leather Products were among the companies employed on munitions work, and there may have been others which I have not been told about.

“Charles Roberts was an important target for German bombers and throughout the war they were constantly adapting to produce many items which were to be used in the D-Day Landings.

“Memories collated in the 1980s from people who served in the Home Guard, ARP and other forces and from women working on munitions, who all played their part on the Home Front, have brought Horbury’s importance into focus 70 years on from the D-Day Landings.”

Mrs Cudworth will be delivering a talk ‘Horbury’s part in Hitler’s Downfall’ at Primrose Hall, in Horbury, on Tuesday, June 10 at 7.30pm.

She will share information she has found about the town’s role in World War Two and is encouraging anyone who lived or worked in Horbury during the war to come along to the talk to share their memories.

She also wants to hear from anyone who had an evacuee living with them or who has had contact with any soldiers or evacuees after the war, and would welcome any photographs, too.