Himmler – did a Peterborough man play a part in his downfall?

Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler

2
Have your say

I was contacted this week by Chris Mannion who has unearthed an amazing story about one of the most notorious figures in history.

Chris is researching a book about the capture of top Nazi Heinrich Himmler, who was Hitler’s right hand man and the man, or should that be monster, who was the architect of the Holocaust.

196 Battery, 73rd Anti-tank, Royal Artillery

196 Battery, 73rd Anti-tank, Royal Artillery

Christopher believes a gunner from Peterborough may have taken part in Himmler’s capture.

He is working on the theoery that L/Sgt R. Hay, of Westwood Road, Peterborough, was involved in the capture of Himmler.

Chris said: “The arrest happened on Monday 21st May 1945, near Bremen in Germany.

“Himmler was arrested along with two others. He was using false papers under the name of Heinrich Hitzinger.

A civic welcome for two US airmen

A civic welcome for two US airmen

“The patrol which arrested him was made up of five men from 196 Battery, 73rd Anti tank, Royal Artillery.

“One of the men was my grandfather L/Sgt Patrick Mannion, of Newton le Willows.

“I know the name of three others out of five, so that leaves one unknown.

“I know L/Sgt Hay was a memberof the 196 Battery.That was his address when they signed up.

Peterborough's ARP wardens

Peterborough's ARP wardens

“I know he was not killed, but little else. So was he one of the other men?’’

Chris has supplied a photograph of the battery and wonders if L/Sgt Hay is on it.

The photo is of 196 Battery, 73rd, taken in April / May 1944. They landed on D-day and fought though France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

Do you know L/Sgt Hay?

The damaged Lido after a German raid on June 8, 1940

The damaged Lido after a German raid on June 8, 1940

If you have any information you can contact Chris by email antitank73@hotmail.com.

And if you do, don’t forget to let me know as well.

Inspired by Chris’s stories, I have included some pictures of Peterborough in the Second World War.

There is a remarkable picture of a Nazi bomber which crashed in the city on February 23, 1940.

Do you remember if it was shot down and where was this picture taken?

There is also a picture of one of Peterborough’s most iconic buildings, the Lido which was damaged in the first air raid on the city on June 8, 1940.

Soldiers and airmen enjoying a break in Market Place

Soldiers and airmen enjoying a break in Market Place

Do you have any memories of that night?

There were many Americans based in the Peterborough area and another of this week’s pictures shows the city mayor Harry Farrow welcoming two US airmen outside the town hall.

Another picture shows servicemen enjoying a cup of tea in Market Place. as it was called then.

The picture has no date, do you know when it was taken and do you recognise any of the men in it?

The picture of a dapper group of men who were the head ARP (Air Raid Precaution) wardens for the city. The picture was taken in 1939. Do you recognise any of the men in it?

If you have any old pictures of the city, and any memories to go with them please get in touch, we’d love to feature them on this page. Contact Nigel Thornton on 01733 588714, email: nigel.thornton@jpress.co.uk or write to Nigel Thornton, Peterborough Telegraph, 57 Priestgate, Peterborough.

A Nazi plane which came down in Peterborough

A Nazi plane which came down in Peterborough