bombing

Dec

5

1940

Bombing attacks across Britain

A view of bomb damage and a crater on the railway line at Victoria Station

From the weekly Situation report: 28th/29th November. A short but heavy raid took place on Liverpool and neighbouring districts. A direct hit on a shelter at Durning Street killed 164 people. Forty other places in Lancashire and Cheshire were attacked, among them Chester and Manchester. Seventeen parachute mines were dropped in other parts of the country, mostly in the South and South-West.

Dec

4

1940

Trekking out of town to avoid Air Raids

The Women's Voluntary Service was entirely voluntarily but featured heavily in the official response to the bombing. They distributed clothing and bedding to the homeless amongst many other functions including feeding centres and co-ordinating information about missing people.

The buses were full, men and women were walking with their baggage. Some were going to relations in outlying parts, some to shelters, preceded by their wives who had reserved them places, and some to sleep in the open. ‘Anything so as not to spend another night in there.’ Many were trying to hitch hike, calling out to every car that passed; very few stopped. This caused considerable annoyance, especially as many coaches completely empty went by.

Nov

29

1940

Dealing with Incendiary bombs in Surrey

Incendiary-Bombs-exploding in street in World War II

One fell in a garden four houses away. They are small magnesium and carbide bombs about 2 feet long and 2 or 3 inches wide. A small fin of alloy one end enables them to fall straight down when the basket containing them explodes in the air. There must be hundreds or even thousands of these small bombs alight around us tonight. The place was like fairyland. Luckily no material damage was done.

Nov

23

1940

First night of Southampton Blitz

Ruined Southampton street after the blitz

You could see the whole of the city of Southampton from the hill and if there was a raid it looked like dozens of vast red fans over Southampton. I found that very frightening and I was glad to be in the shelter. If in the day time there was raid and we hadn’t time to get to the shelter, my mother used to push us under the stairs.

Nov

22

1940

Condor Base at Bordeaux bombed

Wellington night bomber, moonlit flight 1940

On the night of the 22nd/23rd twenty-four heavy bombers attacked the aerodrome at Bordeaux; twenty-nine tons of high explosive and two thousand eight hundred incendiaries were dropped. The attack appears to have been most successful. Direct hits were obtained on hangars and barrack blocks, and many aircraft on the aerodrome were seen to be on fire. The hangars on the south-west side of the aerodrome were completely burnt out.

Nov

21

1940

Night Bombing of Britain intensifies

A Heinkel He III Bomber undergoing maintenance using a captured RAF airfield crane, November 1940.

During the week the enemy made a greater number of long-range nightbomber sorties than during any other week of the war. On the 19th/20th. approximately 500 aircraft were employed; this is the highest number recorded in operations on any night against this country. Attacks also showed greater concentration, and on the nights of the 14th/15th, 15th/16th and 19/20th heavy attacks were made on Coventry, London and Birmingham respectively; 350 aircraft attacked Coventry, under ideal weather conditions, and 340 were used against Birmingham.

Nov

19

1940

Leicester hit by the Blitz

Bomb damage in Leicester following the raid of 19th November 1940.

Back at my house we heard a lone bomber approaching. We put in our gum shields (these were rolled up pieces of old innertube rubber) and bombs began to fall. Previous to this I had found events rather exciting (I was 9 years old) but as the bombs got closer and closer, like giant’s footsteps, I suddenly realised that above my head were the gas and electricity meters and I reasoned (in those fleeting milliseconds which felt like minutes) that if a bomb hit the house, even if we were not killed outright, we could be gassed, electrocuted, or burnt alive!

Nov

18

1940

Churchill cheered by Greek success

A stick of bombs falls on the port of Valona in Italian occupied Albania. RAF bombers were contributing to the Greek counterattack against the Italians.

During the past week the force of the Italian attack on Greece has been stemmed, and the Greeks have been able to advance along the whole front. The principal opposition to their advance has been from the air, and dive-bombing and machine-gunning has considerably retarded their progress.

Nov

14

1940

Coventry bombed – torn apart by firestorm

The ancient Cathedral was one of the landmark buildings destroyed. The shell of the building remains to this day as a memorial to the bombing.

When eventually the ‘All Clear’ sounded we emerged and the family from Berry Street returned home. During the night a delayed action bomb had landed in their garden and during the morning it exploded destroying a block of six houses. No trace of the family was ever found.

Nov

7

1940

Bombing – and machine gunning of civilians

People sheltering from bombing

The approximate figures for the week ending 0600 the 6th November were 399 killed and 1,102 in total of which London suffered 253 killed and 497 injured. This represents about half the total number of casualties for the previous week in London; in the provinces, however, while the number of deaths is about half that of last week, the total of wounded has increased from about 400 to 600. In no town outside London did casualties exceed 100, the highest provincial death roll being at Fraserburgh where over 28 were killed.