Village Web Site Forum

Robin Longbottom
Sunday, August 12, 2018 11:13
Observer Corp Tower Cowling Pinnacle
Does anyone have a photograph of the Observer Corp tower that stood at the back of Cowling Pinnacle? I think it was demolished in the late 1960's. There was an underground bunker below it kitted out with bunks, table and chairs - now concreted over.
Joan M. Tindale
Sunday, August 12, 2018 21:55
The remaining post from the Cowling observer post at Rose Top/Piper Lane is still there - Norman took a photo of it only last week! There was a small farm across the road - Rose Top Farm. The actual bunker was somewhere in the field near the wall/stile/now a gate - behind Cowling Pinnacle. Some of the kids played in it (not me though?) I can send a photo of the full group of our Cowling men. The post was manned for 24 hours a day in shifts.
Robin Longbottom
Monday, August 13, 2018 07:30
Thanks Joan. I would be interested to see the photo. You could pass it on to Paul who could put it on the website or send it on to me. The bunker was always secured by a large padlock but after someone had broken it off, I think the tower had gone by then, it was accessible for a while. I remember going down in to it and winding the handle on an air raid siren.
Paul Wilkinson
Monday, August 13, 2018 08:23
From Joan Tindale

CRAVEN HERALD AND PIONEER - Observers of the sky during war years

YORKSHIREMEN are known to "hear all, see all and say nowt", and for one group at Cowling, it was a reputation they lived up to and were proud of.

During World War Two, the Royal Observer Corps had a post on the moor above Cowling, at Piper Lane Head, Long Hill End. The post was manned by local volunteers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for almost six years throughout the war.

Their job was to spot any and all aircraft passing overhead, plotting their course and recording all the relevant information metic-ulously. The information was vital to the RAF in effecting counter measures against Hitler's Luftwaffe, especially the bombers targeting Liverpool and Manchester. It was a job which the men of the Corps took very seriously, as their contribution to the war effort, and they achieved a high degree of expertise and efficiency.

It was a matter of pride that the post was manned, and manned well, in all winds and weathers.

The instrument used for spotting was top secret at the time and closely guarded, as was the information it helped to record. It was mounted on a metal post still there today on which it revolved. In bad weather, a special cover with a clear roof could be erected over the post.

Known to make first class spotters were local pigeon fanciers, used to scanning the skies for returning racing birds, and there were several among the ranks of the Cowling Corps. It also drew members from Steeton, Cross Hills and Glusburn, though most were from Cowling.

The photograph above shows the 24 men who made up the Corps. It was loaned to the Craven Herald by former Cowling man David Hoyle, who now lives in Foulridge and has gone to considerable lengths to research the names of those pictured.

A great help in that task was Tom Dickinson, pictured in the middle row, fourth from the left. Now living in the Anchor Housing Association complex, at Town End Close, Cross Hills, Tom is thought to be the sole surviving member of the Cowling Royal Observer Corps. The men pictured are (from left to right, back row) Richard Hoyle, Eric Green, A Booth, George Gunning, Smith Benson, Walter C Brigg founder of the Cowling Vauxhall dealership. (Middle row) Israel Pickup, Ralph Smith, Frederick T Birch, Tom Dickinson, Harry S Whitaker, Charles Tetley, E G Dennison, Percy Thornton, Raymond Holmes, Percy Gill, Alan Jacques and Fred Holden. (Front row) Maurice Cleaver, Harry Hope, Frank Watkinson, John Horsfall, Raymond Snowden and Spencer Barritt.

Joan M. Tindale
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 15:27
I might have another photo which shows the same men in uniform standing in front of the observer post at Rose Top (not the bunker where they slept on and off.)
Paul Wilkinson
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 16:19
From Joan Tindale

Cowling Observer Core c.1944 - WW2 in uniform at their Observer Post at Rose Top on Piper Lane at the back of Cowling Pinnacle

Another photo - some of the men are not the same - this photo shows the top of the observer post (post part of it is still there) at Rose Top. The bunker where they slept in shifts was just under the high wall with the gate in now - on the Sutton side I think.

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