Raid on Gloucestershire kills 92

One of a series of detailed maps that the Luftwaffe used for their raid on the Bristol Aircraft Company, based on Ordnance Survey maps of Britain they had acquired before the war.

While London was taking the brunt of the bombing and would continue to suffer until the following May, nowhere in Britain was entirely safe from the bombers. Aircraft factories remained a priority target for the Luftwaffe and they had very good intelligence on where they were located.

Brenda Maitland was 10 year old and living in Filton, Gloucestershire in 1940. Her father had just decided to spend £250 on building a brick air raid shelter in their garden:

Unfortunately, while the work was only just beginning and there was just a one foot deep hole in the ground, we suffered a disastrous daylight air-raid, on September 25th, 1940. Although my parents’ house was close to open fields and the South Gloucestershire countryside, it was also uncomfortably close to a rapidly expanding aircraft construction factory, which proved to become a prime target for German bombers.

On this particular Wednesday in September a squadron of 80 German bombers aimed at this factory, in Filton, at 12 noon, just as the aircraft factory workers were leaving the buildings to walk about in their lunch hour.The sky became black with low flying planes and the noise was deafening.

The two men working on the hole in the lawn which was to be our shelter, shouted to my mother and to me to come out of the house, in case it was bombed. The men almost threw us into the hole, which was concreted, and to their credit, spread their arms over the top of us. We all crouched together with our heads down, as bombs rained around us. In a few minutes it was all over. The planes turned and left. Ninety one people had been killed, some in their air-raid shelters.

Read Brenda Maitland’s full story at BBC People’s War. The full story of the air raid is told at the Aviation Archive.

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