The Swansea Blitz

Another official image of people stoically getting on with it after being made homeless.

Elaine Griffiths was a 17 year old girl working as a volunteer with the Civil Defence organisation in Swansea. She remembers one particular incident from the night:

On the night of the 18th February 1941, an Amber alert came over the telephone at our post and we all scattered over our area to open up the shelters and stand at arranged points. At dusk, about tea time, several planes flew over but crossed over the bay and dropped a load of bombs on the Llandarcy Oil Works. The fire was very bright and, on the way back, a bomb was dropped by the German Pilot in our sector. Just one bomb, probably to get rid of it before flying across the Bristol Channel, and to their air fields in France.

The bomb took the whole front of a building in Adelaide Street and when the smoke had cleared away, we could see a man standing on about twelve inches of floor against the back room of the house. He stood near a door with his arms against the wall. We called to him to stay where he was; I thought that was a laughable thing to say, as where was he going?!!!When one is seventeen, one sees life as quite funny!! Although I still do!!

Anyway, I knew his wife should have been with him and I called up to him to ask where she was. He pointed down to the rubble and said “down there, under that lot”. We started to pull away the bricks and shattered wood with our bare hand and soon the rescue unit came and we then stood back for them to dig. After about an hour we found her under a very strong table, not a mark on her, and her first words were “Is my husband alive!?” He had been brought down from the bedroom or what was left of it, and they just hugged one another.

They had not a piece of furniture or clothing of any sort, except a small case with their “papers” in, that being comprised of, birth certificates and policies, insurances, etc. Everyone in those days took their bags or cases to the shelter. They went off to stay with relatives and we never saw them again. But they were just pleased and grateful, that they had each other and were alive.

Read her full account on BBC Peoples War.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steve Richards February 2, 2014 at 8:14 am

My Mum was a 10 year old child who lived in the Sandfields through the Swansea Blitz and told me various stories about those days. It’s really interesting to get another person’s perspective on that terrible time in Swansea’s history. A clear, very personal account which has added to my knowledge. Mum still lives in Morriston.

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