17 Replies Latest reply on Nov 12, 2021 7:01 AM by Rebecca Brown

    Seeking records about the Battle of Bamber Bridge

    Mark Gorton Wayfarer

      Hello! I am researching an event in June 1943 in the North West of England that became known as ‘The Battle of Bamber Bridge’. Bamber Bridge is a small town in the county of Lancashire not far from where I was born and brought up. My mother, now 98, was told of the battle by a man called Harry McLean, a Post Office telephone engineer who was working in Bamber Bridge at the time.  The basic story, as I understand it, is this. On June 24th 1943, black American servicemen belonging to an 8th Army Air Force Trucking Unit, frustrated by unaddressed grievances stoked up over many months, and finally provoked by attempted arrests on flimsy grounds followed by the use of weapons, took up arms in retaliation against white Military Policemen. An altercation, which began in one of the town's three pubs called The Olde Hobb Inn, escalated into a five hour night time shoot out.  One black soldier was killed, and two wounded. Four MPs were injured.

      What had happened was regarded by military commanders as a mutiny and covered up at the time (contemporary local press reports refer only to an ‘incident’), but The Battle of Bamber Bridge seems to have led directly to the immediate desegregation of US Army MP units in Britain, and helped enable the desegregation of American Armed Forces in 1948.  ]The men of the trucking unit were based in Adams Hall, a collection of huts just outside the town. I believe this was also known as Station 569.  I have contacted US archives to see if any records of the subsequent courts-martial exist, and await their replies, but if anyone can point me in the direction of other sources I would be very grateful. I hope this finds you safe and well, and many thanks.