North Lincolnshire on the Home Front: Scunthorpe

Posted: 28th July 2021

Humber Museums Partnership - North Lincolnshire on the Home Front: Scunthorpe

Welcome to part two of ‘North Lincolnshire on the Home Front in World War Two’ focussing on Scunthorpe. This blog series will focus on how different towns and villages of North Lincolnshire operated on the Home Front of the Second World War.

We would like to thank the source providers and individuals who have shared their stories on the Home Front. Without them, the experiences of the Home Front would not have been possible to share with North Lincolnshire and its citizens

As with all major counties and villages in England, Lincolnshire was heavily involved in the War, especially North Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire itself contained plenty of military and naval targets so air defence measures were immediately put into effect. Many North Lincolnshire villages contributed: Scunthorpe, Brigg, Southend, Barton upon Humber are just a few examples of involved communities. However, most of these villages each had something which made them unique to others. While Scunthorpe was prime for its defences, Brigg was more well known for its Prisoner of War camp and Barton Upon Stather specialised in making tanks!

Scunthorpe was a major targeted area in Lincolnshire as the steelworks and allied engineering firms produced everything from tank landing craft to the tanks themselves (Osbourne,2010, p.224). Due to its importance, the Scunthorpe sector was defended by Lindsey Home Guard’s 1st-4th Bns. The sector consisted of Scunthorpe, Epworth and Brigg meaning that the Lindsey Home Guard were responsible for three of North Lincolnshire’s towns (Osbourne, 2010, p.208).

Miriam Grey in her Civil Defence Uniform.

The Home Front services in Scunthorpe was also known for its active female members such as Miriam Grey. Here is a picture of here in her Civil Defence Uniform. She was originally an ARP Warden at 15 years old and her role was to cycle between the air raid posts to deliver messages when the bombing sirens went off. She learnt how to prepare and shoot guns while in this position and also worked in a shoe shop in Scunthorpe. She eventually became a clippie on the buses at age 17 where she would give travel tickets to passengers. She later married her boyfriend, George Smith, in 1946 after the war had ended.

However, there were some events in Scunthorpe that these services could not manage to save. Even though Lincolnshire managed to suffer less than other major areas in Great Britain (such as London), it still experienced some major attacks from aerial bombardment. Around 200 fatalities occurred in towns around Lincolnshire including Scunthorpe (Osbourne, 2010, p.212).

Photos of Scunthorpe on the Home Front:

Officers of Home Guard units in Scunthorpe on manoeuvre during the Second World War. On the left is the Scunthorpe Section Commander, Lt. Colonel Norman Hunting

The 4th Lindsey Battalion, Home Guard, taken at the rear of Brumby Hall in Scunthorpe during the Second World War c.1940

Photo of a tank with its platoon from Scunthorpe

Photo of the tank steelworks in Scunthorpe

Osbourne, M. (2010). Defending Lincolnshire: A Military Conquest to Cold War. The History Press. Gloucestershire.

Written and researched by William Cragg, History student while on a placement.

Part 3 will follow soon.