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Nottinghamshire, England

Linby Docks

A blunder resulted in these charming stone-lined streams becoming the target of a Nazi bombing.  

These attractive stone-lined streams in an idyllic Nottinghamshire village were singled out as a strategic bombing target in a blunder by Nazi propagandists during World War II.

Linby is a charming village with a population of just 232. The village is remarkable for its twin crosses, pretty Sherwood sandstone houses, holy well and its Main Street flanked by a pair of long-standing sandstone-lined channels oddly named “Linby Docks.” Despite their maritime-sounding name, the docks are 60 miles from the coast and 15 miles from a navigable river. Each one contains nothing but a shallow streamlet—a tributary of the river Leen—and is barely six inches deep. Of indeterminable age, they were probably once used to contain water for driving water mills, preventing floods, or possibly for dipping sheep. One thing that these docks were certainly never used for is shipping.

This did not stop an infamous American-born Nazi propaganda broadcaster nicknamed “Lord Haw-Haw” from broadcasting a specific warning to Britain from his Hamburg studio that the docks of Linby would be targeted in an air raid. Having seen Linby Docks marked on a map, the intelligence source for the Nazi Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda’s English language radio show believed them to be strategically important infrastructure crucial to the war effort, rather than a quaint historical anomaly. Sure enough, the village of Linby was bombed, but if the docks were ever really the target, the raid was mercifully a failure, as the devices fell on a nearby field.

Having survived the threat of destruction from the air, the docks have recently undergone a program of restoration with financial assistance from Heritage Lottery Fund to help the parishioners replace unsightly cement on the stone walls with more traditional lime mortar.

Know Before You Go

By public transport, take the 141 bus from Mansfield or Nottingham Victoria Bus station. If you are hungry or thirsty, the Horse and Groom Pub is next to the Docks.