Sheffield boy saw first city air raid 100 years ago

A fascinating letter from a youngster to his dad talks about the first air raid on Sheffield, by Zeppelins.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 1:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:11 pm
Arthur Jackson on the right, Altcar Camp, Liverpool 1914-18
Arthur Jackson on the right, Altcar Camp, Liverpool 1914-18

Mike Jackson sent in a copy of the letter, which is talking about the air raid which took place on September 25, 1916.

Mike’s grandfather, Arthur Jackson, was the steward at Hallamshire Golf Club.

He joined up in the army during the First World War and was stationed in Southport, cooking for officers at a training camp there.

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Lewis and Charley Jackson with their Auntie Olive at Hallamshire Golf Club

His son Lewis, aged 12 at the time, wrote to him from the golf club to tell him about the Zeppelin raid.

This is a transcript of the youngster’s letter:

“We had such a lively night when the Zepps came. I woke up and heard the Lodge Moor hooter.

I groped about and wondered which side of the bed I was at. At last I found out and went to the door. I called out and Elsie came and laid with me and Charlie. Alice said she would go and fetch Auntie Olive but she was at the door.

Armoured cars call at the Norfolk Arms, Hollow Meadows on their way to Manchester for the 1926 General Strike

Elsie left us and I was just going to sleep when “Boom, Boom”!!! about seven times.

We got up with perfect coolness & presence of mind & dressed & went in the cellar. There we stayed till all was over.

Auntie Olive makes a good man. Never mind we are alright. You bet.

There was not much excitement at school, a good few people say the Zepp went over the links to the camp.

Lewis and Charley Jackson with their Auntie Olive at Hallamshire Golf Club

I went out caddying yesterday (Sat) and got 2/1 – not so bad!!! & am going to save it all after I have got a badge.

Today (Sun) I went up to “Hill 60” (The England one). I went in ‘trenches’ & ‘dug outs’ & Co stores ammun stores & allsorts in the ground.

It’s just like being at the front but for builders. In one place we pulled a rope and some sods came up and you could see a long way.

All the trenches had names like Snig Hill, High Street, Fargate etc. We didn’t like those so we called them Mud Lane & Slashy Ally.

Armoured cars call at the Norfolk Arms, Hollow Meadows on their way to Manchester for the 1926 General Strike

Still all right. I am your loving son, Lewis”.

Elsie Adlard was Lewis’s older cousin, who worked as a domestic help and waitress at the club. Charlie was Lewis’s younger brother who was aged nine at the time.

Auntie Olive was Lewis and Charlie’s stepmother, Arthur’s wife. Mike said that Lewis’s mother Lucy died in childbirth when Charlie was born.

Olive was Lucy’s sister, referred to as Aunt Olive.

Mike said that caddies were given a badge after satisfactorily completing several rounds and presumably after receiving good references from golfers.

The Hill 60 trenches he refers to are the training trenches that were dug at Redmires.

They are covered over now but have been investigated by archaeologists at the University of Sheffield Department of Lifelong Learning.

When Arthur came back after the war, the family moved to Blackpool Golf Club but after a year they came back to Sheffield and Arthur did an engineering apprenticeship at John Brown and Co before returning to his first love, golf, in 1922.

Later, Arthur took the tenancy of the Norfolk Arms at Hollow Meadows from 1920-26. Lewis inherited his father’s love of golf and worked as a club maker at the Hallamshire club under the professional, Willie Wallis.

Lewis left the club and went to France for nine years to work as a golf professional.

It was a glamorous life, taking care of rich clients who could afford a professional to take them and business contacts to the best courses and entertain them afterwards.

Mike has some fascinating letters from one client, an engineering firm magnate who paid for his travel to the south of France and took him for trips on his yacht in the Mediterranean.

Lewis also played in the British Open championship in 1927.