THE Germans are renowned for their organisation – and they were all ready to capture strategic points in Huddersfield if they had invaded Britain in 1940.
For a map has been unearthed which shows the Germans knew exactly where all the major train stations, mills, chemical works, engineering factories and mills were in Huddersfield along with key railway and canal bridges, viaducts and tunnels.
And if they had ever swept through Britain they would have concentrated on these points first.
The map dates back to 1938 and has been bought by John Garside, curator of the Bullecourt Museum in Milnsbridge.
The museum – named after the Battle Of Bullecourt in northern France in 1917 – features military memorabilia which includes all the major conflicts involving the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, which recruits in Huddersfield. The Dukes lost many troops at Bullecourt.
John, 61, said: “A man turned up at the museum offering us the map which he’d bought on the internet.
“It’s a great find – I’ve been collecting military memorabilia for 40 years and I’ve only ever seen one other map like this before – and that was of Leeds.
“It’s a real coup to get this map for the museum.”
“There are names on the map which older people in Huddersfield will remember and it’s a superb snapshot of a bygone era in the town.
“I’m sure people will be fascinated by it.’’
He thinks the map was originally a British Ordnance Survey map which the Germans then had plotted. They have marked all the strategic points with symbols – and the key to the symbols is written in German down the side.
“The Germans were certainly well-organised,’’ said John. “Once they had landed – possibly by air – it would not have taken them long to get to Huddersfield and it’s clear they knew exactly what they were after once they got here.’’
The map shows an area covering the town centre and stretching from Birkby to Crosland Moor and Waterloo.
Some of the crucial locations highlighted in the map are:
The former Karrier Works that made coaches and lorries off St Thomas’s Road, Folly Hall. John’s late father, William Garside, used to work there. In more recent times it has become a nightclub and casino complex
Huddersfield railway station and the large sidings running alongside Alder Street from Hillhouse through to Fartown, operated at the time by the London, Midlands and Scottish Railway.
The sprawling British Dyes works on Leeds Road that became ICI and now Syngenta.
Britannia Works at Birkby which became Hopkinsons and has just been knocked down to make way for houses.
Northumberland Street Post Office.
About 20 other mills and engineering works.
Some other names the Germans had highlighted included the old Huddersfield Royal Infirmary which is now Huddersfield Technical College, the Smallpox Hospital at Dalton Bank Road and the former Mill Hill Hospital in Dalton, which was then known as Huddersfield Sanatorium For Infectious Diseases.
Bullecourt Museum opened three years ago and was the former headquarters for the 7th Bn the Duke Of Wellington’s Regiment, which recruited in an area from Milnsbridge to Saddleworth.
John has been collecting military memorabilia for 40 years and had so much stored he eventually realised his dream to open his own museum.
The exhibits include World War One helmets dug up from Flanders’ fields, an American Jeep, a flight navigation map from a German bomber, German and British uniforms and an Anderson shelter.
One of the most fascinating exhibits is a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf which came from the Fuhrer’s bunker in Berlin shortly after his suicide in the final days of World War II.
The bunker had been captured by the Russians and they allowed former Meltham man Don Hall in.
Don, who died a few years ago, was a Royal Engineer expert who was helping in vital mine-clearance work.
John said: “Don went into the bunker with some Russians and picked the book off a bookcase. The Russian said he could keep it as a souvenir.’’
The museum at Scar Lane is open every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 4pm. Entry is £2 for adults and £1 for children and pensioners.
Contact the museum on 01484 461029.