LANCASHIRE LANCASHIRE is a county palatine and maritime shire in the north-west of England bounded on the north by Westmorland and Cumberland on the east by Yorkshire on the south by Cheshire and on the west by the Irish Sea. The chief inlets on its long and very irregular coastline are Morecambe Bay cutting the county in two and the estuaries of the Mersey and the Ribble. There is a great coalfield between these two rivers iron is abundant in Furness which is also noted for its shipbuilding Manchester is the centre of the worlds cotton trade and Liverpool is the leading port of the Atlantic trade in the United Kingdom. The county has links with the Armed Forces of the Crown in the various regimental depots in its towns. These are the depot of the Lancashire Fusiliers at Wellington Barracks Bury the East Lancashire Regiment and the Loyal Regiment at Fulwood Barracks Preston Kings Own Royal Regiment at Bowerham Barracks Lancaster the South Lancashire Regiment at Peninsula Barracks Warrington and the Manchester Regiment at Ladysmith Barracks Ashton-under-Lyne. During the 1939-1945 War Liverpool was Headquarters of Western Approaches Command and a maiming port which served as a controlling centre for officers and men who transferred to the Royal Navy for the duration of the war. Speke near Liverpool was from May 1941 the Headquarters of No. 9 Group Royal Air Force, known as the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit. A number of merchant ships were modified so that each could carry a single Hurricane and launching gear without prejudice to its normal trade. The aircraft were manned by R.A.F. pilots and maintained by R.A.F. maintenance crews. No. 256 Squadron and No. 307 (Polish) Squadron formed this group. The unit was disbanded in 1943. American fighter and reconnaissance aircraft which reached this country in crates by sea were assembled for the R.A.F. at Speke airfield at first by staff of B.O.A.C. and later by American engineers until the R.A.F. were able to takeover this task. At Barrow-in-Furness at Warrington and at Burscough near Ormskirk there were shore establishments of the Fleet Air Arm of Western Approaches Command. There were Royal Air Force Stations at Blackpool Heaton Park Manchester Lytham St. Annes and Padgate. There were Polish camps at Blackpool Cark-in-Cartmel and in the vicinity of Formby, while the Polish Air Force Headquarters were at Talbot Square Blackpool. The hospitals in the county included the Royal Naval Hospital evacuated from Great Yar mouth to the County Mental Hospital Lancaster: a Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital at Southport a Royal Air Force Hospital at Kirkham the Polish General Military Hospital at Ormskirk and another Polish hospital at Wceton near Kirkham and Military Hospitals at Crumpsall Thornton and Winwick. There were prisoner-of-war camps at Ashton-in-Makerfield Bury Gorton near Manchester Kirkham and Oldham. All these facts are reflected in the war graves in Lancashire.
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