Early on Sunday morning, December 24th, 1944, a flying bomb exploded on the cottages opposite St. Anne’s church in Chapel Street. A note in the services book runs thus:- “There were no services this day owing to the Church being damaged by enemy action. Six people were killed and several injured.” (Nurse Greenhalgh, an active member of the Mothers’ Union, was one of the injured and she died from her injuries some time afterwards).

Hard work and loyal co-operation and help from all sections of the community enabled the rubble to be cleared from the main body of the church and on the next morning (a cold, frosty Christmas Eve) celebrations of the Holy Communion were held in a Church that was doorless, windowless and open to the elements.

St Anne's Church After The Bomb

The vicarage was also damaged but the school suffered most, and for nearly two years this building was out of action. However, in spite of the handicap of not having any proper accommodation for meetings and organisations, parish life went on vigorously enough to prepare for a bazaar which, in October 1947, produced nearly £2000. A gift day was held on February 18th, 1945, to inaugurate the Church Restoration Fund and £252 was given. Later, over £960 was subscribed.

The Church, with the exception of the stained glass memorial window in the west wall has now been restored and only awaits decoration.

Advantage was taken when the school was being repaired to make various alterations and improvements to the layout of the building. When the roof of the main room was blown off by the bomb some fine old oak rafters were revealed. Accordingly the new ceiling was shaped to fit the arch of the roof and the beams were left visible. The so-called “Infants Department” was made into one large room. The kitchen was re-organised, and properly equipped, and a new lavatory and wash-basin installed. The whole building was re-wired and re-fitted with modern electric lighting.

In February, 1946, Mr Harold Hardman, a good friend of St. Anne’s, and the Athletic Club, made a generous gift of a set of recorded bells, and has installed them in the belfry “as a thank-offering for Peace and Victory”.

(Excerpt taken from ‘A Brief Historical Sketch of St. Anne’s Church, Tottington, 1949)