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Bath Blitz Memorial Project
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Mary's Story

I was a child named Mary Browning.  During the blitz, I was living at 9 Highbury Place with my grandparents, mother and sister.  I went to Harley Street Junior Girls C of E School.

On the first night of the Blitz, we heard the bombs and were very scared. The next day was a very beautiful day and our relatives cycled from Shaw and invited us to go and spend the night with them there, but our mother declined saying "It won’t happen in Bath again". How wrong she was!

During the next raid the bombs were all around us as we crouched in the cupboard under the stairs.  My grandparents were trapped in their bedroom on the first floor as their door jammed.  They climbed out of the window on a ladder which was hanging on the wall and were machine-gunned (though not injured) as they descended.

When the bombing stopped, we went into the kitchen where there was a fire in the range.  A knock came at the door, and Warden Marcus Matthews - well known Deputy Headmaster at the City Of Bath Boys - called out "Are you alright?"  When he found out we had a fire, he brought some other people back and we all sat round draped in blankets, drinking hot tea.  One lady had no shoes and her feet were bleeding.

The next day my mother, sister and I hitched a lift in a lorry to Shaw.  My aunt paid him with fried eggs.  We remained at Shaw for several weeks where I went to the village school.

My classroom at Harley Street was burnt by an incendiary bomb.  What I remember most was the smell as we walked down Snow Hill past all the bombed houses.



Number 9 Highbury Place was not badly damaged and did not need a lot of repairs to make it habitable again.

20 Snow Hill

Mary did not provide any pictures with her e-mail, but the photograph above shows the damage to No.20 Snow Hill, a bit further down the hill than Highbury Place.  Mary would have walked past scenes like this.

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