Date: Sat Oct 5, 2019 - 13:00:00
Two or three days a week, I would walk from my family home in Moorland Road first to my Gran in Beckhampton Road, then on to Caledonian road to my other one. I could see bomb damage in many places, and to my chagrin, they were all gradually being rebuilt or repaired.
Date: Thu Dec 13, 2012 - 12:13:40
Date: Wed Nov 16, 2011 - 23:20:17
Date: Mon Oct 31, 2011 - 23:05:52
Date: Mon Jul 4, 2011 - 08:45:41
Date: Wed Apr 20, 2011 - 11:29:02
Date: Thu Aug 26, 2010 - 21:54:22
Date: Tue Apr 27, 2010 - 11:22:31
Date: Tue Mar 2, 2010 - 16:57:49
Date: Wed Nov 25, 2009 - 00:34:00
Date: Sun Feb 09, 2009 - 16:43:18
I also enjoyed reading people's memories of that terrible time. I have bookmarked the rest of the site to read at leisure.
I was a baby during the war and lived in Greenford, Middx. I have no memory of it except that once, when discussing the notes of the sirens with my Mum, I was able to correctly imitate the sounds of the air raid siren and the all clear - so something must have stuck in my subconscious mind.
According to my mother, although the Blitz on London went on night after night after night, only one person was killed in our road (Hicks Avenue, Perivale Park, Greenford). A lady went outside to watch the bombing and was hit by a piece of shrapnel.
We moved to Bath in September 1949 when I was just six. Although not born here, I consider myself a Bathonian because I love my City and its people, and its just wonderful to read these true accounts.
This is an excellent website and congratulations to all those who helped compile it.
Date: Sat Jun 09, 2008 - 13:15:19
Date: Fri Jul 13, 2007 - 12:17:57
My father was in the RA 554 Searchlight Battery around 1941-1942 and as a child I was taken to Cranborne by my mother to be near where he was stationed. My father's autograph book has names of people in his unit, or rather signatures which are a bit difficult to make out, but which can be read. I don't know the exact dates he was there nor exactly what he did.
I did visit Cranborne last year and someone on the main street there does have memories of the RA Searchlight battery in that period.
Date: Wed Jan 03, 2007 - 17:35:41
Date: Sun Sep 22, 2006 - 17:30:20
Date: Sat Sep 09, 2006 - 11:19:23
Date: Wed Aug 25, 2006 - 22:34:13
Date: Wed Aug 16, 2006 - 22:29:04
Can you kindly confirm that you will amend the record accordingly.
Thank you on behalf of my Mum.
(I have corrected this, Rosemary. I have also removed your phone number to protect you from crank calls).
Date: Wed Aug 16, 2006 - 22:34:13
I hope it is possible to amend the records.
(This entry in the Casualties list was corrected).
Date: Sun Apr 30, 2006 - 14:17:33
(Thank you for your messages in this visitor's book Sami. I have tidied them up for you).
Date: Thu Feb 16, 2006 - 05:57:25
50 years later I brought my wife over from Canada and was still able to show her shrapnel marks on the old Labour Exchange building.
Date: Sun Feb 12, 2006 - 19:45:36
GOD BLESS ALL WHO DIED IN THE BATH BLITZ
Date: Tue Sep 20, 2005 - 21:36:56
Date: Sun Jul 31, 2005 - 15:37:27
Date: Sat Jun 18, 2005 - 06:10:08
Date: Tue May 24, 2005 - 11:19:53
Date: Tue May 24, 2005 - 07:52:56
Many thanks for the hard work that went into producing this.
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 - 16:51:59
Date: Thu Apr 7, 2005 - 19:42:25
Date: Sat Nov 20, 2004 - 11:08:28
Date: Mon Oct 25, 2004 - 16:28:50
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 - 16:37:55
Date: Tue Sep 7, 2004 - 20:46:20
Date: Tue Jul 6, 2004 - 17:24:22
Date: Thu Jun 24, 2004 - 21:00:49
Date: Sun May 2, 2004 - 19:24:23
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 - 17:13:13
I write this message on behalf of my wife Margaret Linda Williams (nee Preece) who although blown out of bed during the Blitz when living at No.1 Bennett Street at the tender age of 9, is still by the Grace of God still alive and well to relate her memories, (to be added soon to the memories page).
She would like to thank the The Bath Blitz Memorial Project for their great contribution in memory of all who lost their lives. LEST WE FORGET
Date: Thu Mar 25, 2004 - 16:30:49
Date: Sat Mar 20, 2004 - 13:45:14
Date: Mon Feb 23, 2004 - 07:11:42
Date: Tue Jan 6, 2004 - 14:01:50
Date: Tue Nov 18, 2003 - 09:11:34
Date: Thu Jul 17, 2003 - 18:30:27
Date: Wed Jul 2, 2003 - 12:21:47
[Website Author's comment: I have e-mailed a reply to Kirsten Elliott. Niall Rothnie's book is very good, and I have added it to the book list.]
Date: Sat Jun 21, 2003 - 00:04:46
Best wishes again from 2nd Bath BB. I shall soon have some more WW2 History to add to our site and some photographs. Have you any photo's of Trams in Bath during WW2?
[Website Author's comments: I have had no e-mail from "college students" so I doubt that they were serious. I have not seen any pictures of bomb damage in Bath that show tram lines. I believe that the trams had been replaced by buses in 1936, so they would not have been running by the time the war started.]
Date: Sat May 31, 2003 - 16:45:45
Date: Mon Mar 3, 2003 - 22:35:44
(I have put the site on the Links page).
Date: Sun Mar 2, 2003 - 15:33:36
(I have put the site on the Links page).
Date: Thu Feb 27, 2003 - 21:07:55
I remember being taken to Bath by my grandparents on weekly shopping trips in the early 1970's and my grandfather pointing out bomb sites and damage to buildings caused by the bombs. To the list of dead should be added the names of Ada Elizabeth (aged 69)and Frederick (71) Bowden of Firlands, The Folly, Chippenham. They were killed on the 25 April 1942 when a bomb was dropped on their house by a German bomber which mistakenly bombed Chippenham. Their daughter who was in the house at them time was blown into the street and survived.
Good luck with the memorial. It is long overdue. John Belcher, Chippenham
Date: Thu Feb 6, 2003 - 15:14:19
Date: Mon Dec 9, 2002 - 23:25:28
Date: Mon Nov 25, 2002 - 22:31:32
Date: Sun Nov 24, 2002 - 17:31:39
Date: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 18:57:51
Date: Tue Jul 2, 2002 - 11:17:59
Date: Mon May 13, 2002 - 01:07:16
Date: Thu May 9, 2002 - 19:30:13
Date: Thu Apr 25, 2002 - 19:34:24
Date: Thu Apr 25, 2002 - 19:23:27
Date: Wed Apr 24, 2002 - 14:28:31
Date: Mon Apr 22, 2002 - 00:25:07
Date: Tue Apr 2, 2002 - 06:18:08
Date: Sat Mar 30, 2002 - 16:22:59
Date: Mon Mar 18, 2002 - 10:41:22
Date: Sun Mar 17, 2002 - 18:28:07
One of the aims of the Project is to preserve for posterity the memories of those who lived through the Bath Blitz.
If you were in Bath at the time of the blitz, or know the story told to you by a friend or relative who was, we would like to hear from you.
Date: Sat Apr 21, 2018 - 16:23:23
My great grandparents (Arthur and Mary Jane Smith) lived at 11 Elm Grove Terrace for many years (certainly from 1920s onwards). He had an upholstery business.
Date: Mon Feb 4, 2013 - 20:00:07
My father, a driver for the National Fire Service told the story of how he drove down Lansdown Hill with twenty or so firemen in the back when the brakes of the vehicle failed. As he careered down the hill he revved the engine and managed to engage second gear. The fire engine ground to a halt outside the old post office. His nightmares due to this incident continued for the rest of his life and he regularly jumped right out of bed.
Two bombs were dropped in the field by the river at Freshford but we suffered little during the war.
Date: Sun Apr 29, 2012 - 17:11:22
Date: Mon Jan 20, 2012 - 06:11:52
My parents, Edward A Sargeant of Hounslow and Lilian F Henwood of Pimlico moved to Bath when he got an Admiralty job as a draftsman. My father was also a lieutenant in the Home Guard. His SMLE .303 rifle & kit were always ready in the corner of the living room.
Naturally I have no memories of the April 1942 blitz. Damage to our flat was limited to the roof and may have been caused by the April bombing but was not repaired until about 2 years later as mother said she found me up on the roof watching the roofers work. At about 3 years old I'd have been able to climb the ladder alone.
I remember trips to shelters in '43 and '44. The cellar shelter under our top floor flat at 3, Vane St was whitewashed and had a fireplace that could be used for cooking. It was there that I contracted meningitis from an old man. I recovered in St Martins Hospital. After that, we often spent the night in a small white tent in the parade grounds across from Vane St during air raid warnings. Late in the war we didn't bother to get out of bed and would just listen for falling bombs as warning. We left red bulbs on at night so we could move out quickly if necessary.
How did the war affect me? Knowing no other way of life and getting sufficient food to avoid health problems, there seemed at the time to be little to complain about and nothing to compare life to. However, moving away from Bath in '47 froze the memory of the time and place in mind. My Bath memories were not gradually assuaged as the city was restored after the war. Leaving England for Canada in '51 further encapsulated the experience so that as I matured I had contrasting experiences to compare that life to.
Bath was beautiful. The architecture, the flower gardens, the surrounding hills where we had an allotment, the river, the classical music played on the wireless, all should have given me a lifetime of pleasant memories with perhaps a longing to return (I did for the day in 1970 but only to show my wife the beauty of the area). Instead, I sink into an overwhelming melancholy when I see photographs of picturesque stone row houses climbing hillsides with wet slate roofs gleaming like silver in the sunlight, and I turn the page before I am drawn into some unnameable place of fear and death. I see bombed out houses as playgrounds rather than as places of lost dreams and lives. I see no hero in the Zionist puppet Churchill, have no respect for British royalty, no pride in British armed forces. I cannot reconcile with Germans even after visiting their country.
This is due to the vast amount of information that industrious individuals have posted to the Internet, I have had the opportunity the past few years to examine the causes of the world wars. Thus I take no pride in the victory or smugness over the defeat of combatant counties. The stupidity of humans is beyond measure as is their lost potential for greatness. We are all caught up now in the culmination of events leading in the most horrible of fashions to a world government. There should have been a better way to get there rather to leave me and others with a sense of a deliberately diminished and unfulfilled life. I have no pride in my country of final refuge, the USA. The record is quite clear of its complicity in the devastation that I have continued to witness all my life. We have all paid the price for our follies. 'All are punish'd!' Shakespeare: 'Romeo and Juliet'
This probably does not meet your requirements for inclusion in the 'Bath Blitz' as a memorial to those who suffered and died. That is not the reason I wrote. I offer from an uprooted participant's point of view a different perspective on the site's memorializing of a time that should be forgotten, not passed on to future generations who, if past human behaviour is any indicator, have shown little ability to learn from any but their own experience.
(Thank you Michael. The Memories Book is for personal perspectives, and that is the only requirement for inclusion. Yours meets that requirement and I am happy to include it.)
Date: Fri Jan 17, 2012 - 21:54:22
Date: Sat Dec 10, 2011 - 15:12:37
Date: Thu Sep 22, 2011 - 10:42:50
I went into the garden of 29 Broadway, Widcombe, Bath, to watch the search-lights, hear the anti-aircraft guns loud bangs, lights and flames of the explosions. I was grabbed, thrust under the stairs and told to stay there. Minutes later I was out again, wanting to see the spectacle. As far as I am aware, the nearest bombs fell near the Abbey and I was given some books rescued from a fire in that area.
Being taught to read by Grandpa Dyte before I reached my fourth birthday, this was my reward. In later years, when I discovered the extent of the bomb damage not so far away, I came to realise how lucky I was to live in the Broadway.
Silly I know, but the first Guy Fawkes celebrations to be held after the war seemed so tame compared with those provided by the Luftwaffe. Given the choice, give me tame every time.
Date: Mon Sep 5, 2011 - 15:56:12
Date: Sat May 14, 2011 - 7:10:53
Name: Dorothy Davis
This is Dot’s story:
They cleared out the cellar and put the table in there (a Morrison shelter). There was wire down the back and down the sides and you crawled in. There was a proper mattress on the floor and there was six of us in there. It was funny because the old man from next-door said to Reg, he said "Be thee on fire duty with I tonight?" And Reg looked up and he said "yes, I’m on with you" and he said "well you tell that little maid of yours and that babe to come down the shelter tonight – I’ve fixed it up today". And I did!!
When the siren went, a green light came through to where the air-raid wardens were and they used to ring a bell to give people warning. Well then everybody went mad and got their stuff ready to go down the shelter. Well then the next thing you heard was the siren starting up ..... It never went with a long note; it went with a beep and a stop, and a beep and a stop, like that. And then when they were nearly over the top and you should have been in the shelter, it was a long drawn out noise. And that stopped, and then you heard boom, boom boom.
One night we got buried for 10 or 12 hours - it was just a case of them not been able to get down and us not been able to get up. We could look out to the garden, but we couldn’t get out there. Then firemen started walking across the top and bits would start falling down and we just had to sit there and wait. Alfred was outside with Reg and they knew we were down there. After we got out we found out that up in the bedroom, one of the lintels had come down and stuck into Reggie's cot and they reckon if he had been in there he could have been badly injured or killed. Everybody was going around like chickens with no heads, you know, but you know, as I say the air-raid wardens would work like hell to get you out. When they did get me out, I thought I had a black baby instead of a white baby! We were covered in soot!
The next day, when you looked at it, there were no pictures - just the frames left hanging on the wall. It went all the way round – handles on the cups still hanging on the thing but no cups. Apparently, the blast came from Ivy Avenue which was that side and the school which was the other side, and we were stuck in the middle and it went WHOOOSH like that, apparently, from what I can understand and er.... If I had been under the stairs, there would have been no me and no Reggie. It just collapsed under the stairs that’s the only part that went – I mean I could have been severely injured or anything like that - and Reggie could have been killed, but because there was nobody there it just collapsed on itself.
After the bombing, we couldn’t sleep in our bedroom and there were four or five other young ladies like me with babies. The men got together and they said "what about having a walk?" So I said "well, how far are we going to go?” And they said “only the next village". So then we got the babies in the pram and off we go, 4 miles there and 4 miles back. We get into the field and asked the farmer, and we slept in the haystack in the fields. You took sandwiches and things and we used to walk back in the morning – we did that every night for about four weeks. About the third night that we were coming back about 5.30 in the morning, the old farmer met us and he said “would ee like a cup of tea?” And of course we said "yes please" and they made tea and toast and cornflakes, and milk for the babies, it was all there.
Four weeks we did that, backwards and forwards like that. The farmer used to come round when you were there and write it down in his little book, and he used to say to us "Ye be shure you got that there pram under the wheat, put them shiny bits in the hay." And we used to think – what the hell is he on about! - and he was telling us to keep pram with the chrome underneath the wheat. So we had to turn the prams round – of course in those days, the prams had loads of chrome on, on the shade, on the wheels on the handlebars, everything – and the German planes might have seen it. They used to drop bombs on the way back from Bristol because if they got out over the Bristol Channel, Spitfires were waiting for them out there. And it was worse trying to fly with a bomb in so they used to let them go over the fields, because in those days it was all fields between Bristol and Bath. You see, if they didn’t lose the bombs, one stray bullet and the whole thing and everything would have gone up.
Date: Thu Mar 10, 2011 - 13:25:52
(Thank you Francis. I corrected Cynthia's Story in the next update).
Date: Tue Mar 30, 2010 - 15:54:58
On the night of the blitz, we were crouched on the dining room floor, listening to the sounds of the planes dropping their bombs, falling bricks and the shattering of glass, tracer bullets - the house trembled as did we all - but we were safe and no damage was caused to the house. Bath was the target and this raid I assume was unexpected as there was no defence whatsoever. The planes came over the hills and dive bombed the city. Sadly there was a lot of devastation and loss of life. I remember the R.C. church was hit and I was told that the priest had been killed. There was a lot of destruction around the Pump Room.
I later joined a team of Fire Watchers to protect Widcombe Hall, armed with helmet, axe, bucket etc. On warm nights we were able to drag our beds and sleeping bags out onto the flat roof - peaceful - until it rained!!! Thankfully Bath never had another Blitz as the one we experienced in 1942.
Date: Tue Mar 2, 2010 - 17:16:32
Prior to the attacks on the city I had taken part in a number of ARP training sessions and exercises as a cycle messenger. As far as I can remember these were not on a particularly organised basis and when the first raid occurred I had no role to play. However by the third raid I had heard that a pool of cycling messengers had been organised by what I believe was called the Air League with an operational HQ in Broad Street. The leader of that organisation was the controller and I, aged 15yrs, reported to him for duty and together with a number of other pool members carried messages as directed for several days. Finally Mr W A Holland a form master at school (known as Wah) appeared at the HQ to reclaim any lost pupils and took me back to the class room - the excitement was over.
During the raids we slept in the under-stair cupboard and saw little of the action as our part of the city was not severely affected although I do remember a bomb exploding on the far side of the copse at the end of Southlea Road. The other nearer incident was in Apsley Road where the house at the top of the road before Newbridge Hill and opposite Penn Lea Road was badly damaged by either a direct or close hit. That house had been occupied by the Wheeler family and Gordon, the son, was a friend of mine. He told me that the family had been sleeping in a Morrison shelter in the living room at the time of the hit and all survived unscathed. They subsequently moved to a house in Penn Lea Road.
Shortly after these events The City of Bath Police organised a messenger service with training sessions. I joined with several friends of which I remember David Hayward, John Hind (son of the Chief Constable) and I believe Charles Dando. Unfortunately I lost touch with all these when I joined the Army in 1944 and spent 20years as a regular officer.
Date: Tue Mar 2, 2010 - 17:01:37
I shall try to collect my memories of those nightmarish hours. After the first night's raids I walked with my father into the city as my mother's relatives lived in Great Stanhope Street and we wanted to be sure of their safety. I will add my story later but the first thing we found was the crunch of glass and debris on the pavement as we walked down Bloomfield Road, some miles from the centre of the city.
Recently finding the site has brought back so many memories for me. For example the note about Fireman Peschel. He and his family lived a few doors away from me in Odd Down during the war and I remember him setting out each day in his fireman's uniform. His 2 sons were about my age, maybe slightly younger, but we all went to St. Luke's School at the top of Rush Hill, though I think it has changed its name now.
Thank you for this site which I have found produces great emotion even after so many years.
Date: Sun Oct 4, 2009 - 15:34:22
My father had just moved from the East End of London to work in Bath. It caused his landlady much amusement when bringing his evening cocoa to see he slept with his clothes on! That was the evening of the first raid!
If anyone can remember the Spurrells I would be grateful for any additional information on the baby.
Date: Thu Sep 17, 2009 - 23:10:29
He died on that day in 1942. His grave was of course empty.
Date: Tue Jun 16, 2009 - 11:27:24
Also we were the only house with running water in the area on the Sunday and word soon got round about that.
Date: Sat Jun 2, 2009 - 11:30:36
On the Saturday night I remember watching the bombs falling towards Ivy grove. They were meant for Coombs Nursery which was glinting in the moonlight. My dad was a Special Constable and on duty that night but he came home and the four of us crouched under the dining room table as the ceilings and windows disintegrated around us.
On the Sunday night we all went to the cellars of the Moravian Church. Mothers and children were inside singing hymns conducted by Mrs. Sylvester who taught the infants of South Twerton School, while the men stood outside giving a running commentary as our city burned.
On Monday evening we were 'bussed' to Paulton; at the time it seemed so far away! We stayed there a week then went to Devizes for a month until the house was repaired. As South Twerton School was damaged we had school at the Baptist Church. At the time it seemed an adventure.
I am now 77 but recall it all so vividly.
Date: Sat Jun 9, 2008 - 13:15:19
I was home on leave the Sunday night Bath was bombed and can remember seeing numbers of people walking up Lansdown Road the following day. The night that Bath was bombed we spent under the kitchen table but could see the bombs exploding in the town earlier. Where we lived at Fairfield Park overlooked the town.
I served 24 years mostly as an aircrew radio officer. Did tours in Singapore when the Japanese surrendered, Egypt, Aden, the rest of the time was on long range transport.
Date: Tue Apr 22, 2008 - 13:52:34
On Sunday, 26th April, my Father took me to Julian Road, where I saw all the destruction. This was about 10:00 am. I have vivid memories of horror of bodies everywhere at St Andrews Church that was damaged by fire in the raid during the night.
I particularly remember just the front wall of a large Georgian house still standing, and the sadness of seeing a lady in her nightdress who must have been in bed and then blown towards the shattered window which was on the top floor of the shattered building. She was in the window opening, dead, with her two arms hanging outside.
The demolition squad making the area safe could not deal with the wall until her body was removed, and they could not remove her themselves for fear that the wall would collapse if they tried. So she had to stay there in that undignified position until more help was available later in the day.
The strange thing, looking at all the damaged houses, is how fire grates often stayed in place, and the sight of pictures and mirrors still in place on the remaining walls with the glass uncracked.
Date: Tue Mar 11, 2008 - 11:42:34
I was awake at the time the first bombs began to drop. My mum and dad came to see where I was as they were soon convinced that our bungalow had been hit but it hadn't. After the lull, my father and I walked over the road to the Bloomfield Sports Club and noticed the fires burning over Bath.
Next morning we walked past the Bear Flat and noticed the damage. St James Church in the centre of Bath was still intact and I remember people coming out of a morning service.
Next time I went past the Church it was a burnt out shell. I remember very well the destruction in Holloway. On the third night we trekked out to somewhere near Combe Hay along with many others and spent the night under the stars.
Though our bungalow wasn't hit, it received quite a bit of structural damage from a stick of bombs dropped in a field (now part of a golf course) some 300-400yds away.
Date: Mon Oct 15, 2007 - 08:30:36
The first time I was labelled was when I was evacuated from London. I objected that I was not a parcel and didn't want to look like one. The beginning of "behave yourself and do as you're told". We arrived eventually at a village school in the outskirts of Bath where my mother made it clear that my two sisters and the baby were to sit "nicely" and not move. Fortunately this resulted in being "chosen" by the most wonderful people who offered us shelter in their home.
There was an air raid shelter made under the roots of the apple orchard ... never used. We attended the village school and sandbags were piled high against the windows and we were warned never to pick up any unknown objects. Air raid drills had us dive under our wooden desks and to be able to distinguish between the alert and the all clear. I don't remember ever feeling afraid but had great confidence in the teacher's authority.
Then we moved to another house and when bombers were overhead we were awakened and taken to the cellars of the house. The people who owned that house lost their chauffeur who was also a fire fighter.
I often went to play at the local park. When the sirens went we just stopped what we were doing and went to the shelter. We had to know where every shelter was wherever we might be. There were no cell phones ... you just followed instructions. Sirens go off and you'd better know where the local shelter was and you knew what you had to do. People ask how could your parents have dealt with this without knowing where you were. It must have been difficult. But we were brought up to respond immediately and for safety's sake to do as we were told immediately. It worked!
Date: Mon Feb 26, 2007 - 06:35:03
We lived at No.33 High street Twerton, Bath. I can recall going to the WVS (I think) to get some clothing as we only had our nightwear. In your records I see you list no 34 as damaged but not 33. I also recall the house in the next street, our two back gardens were joined. I remember going through the gate in the fence and seeing an ARP man fiddling with the taps, their windows were gone but the building was ok. We heard later that the people had all been killed, we never saw the two children again. Their name was, to the best of my recollection "Judd" also not on the list of killed.
I can also remember being caught out in a raid with my mother and elder sister (don't know where the baby was). My mother pulled us into what would have been once a toilet, no pan in there, we stayed put until the all clear. I can not put all this into perspective as I was too young and I can no longer ask my mother. All she was able to ever tell me was that after we were bombed out she got one of the neighbours to help to pull the pram out of the rubble and then we went to the WVS.
I hope that this bit of my memory jogs someone elses. You have done a marvellous job with this site.
Date: Tue Feb 13, 2007 - 17:35:14
My Mother, Father and Grandparents all were born and lived in Bath for many years. My mother and her family were living in Morford Street at the time of the Bath Blitz. Her name was CHAPMAN, and my father's family the COWLEY'S lived in Stirtingale Avenue at that time too.
My grandmother Gwen Chapman was from the Ashman family of 73 Brook Road that Brian mentions in his memories of Brook Road. My Granmother Gwen's maiden name was Ashman. In Brook Road lived her brother and his wife, my great Uncle Fred Ashman and My great Aunty Rose Ashman, and their children, my mums cousins, Jean and Brian. Also living with them at the time was my Great Grandfather Alfred Ashman (mentioned in Brian's Story) who lived in Brook Road from the early 1900's. My grandmother Gwen Chapman died in 2003 (aged 96!!!), so had many memories of Brook Road and Bath down the years, which she used to tell me!! Her mother's family lived in old Balance Street before it was all later pulled down. In fact her grandmother Mrs Clothier ran the Sunday School there I believe in the early 1900's.
My mother Jacqueline and her sister Gillian along with their parents, my grandparents, Stan and Gwen Chapman were living in 32 Morford Street at the time of the Bath blitz and although my mother was only 4 years old at the time, she can vividly remember the bombs dropping all around them in Morford Street and the surrounding area, and the church being bombed in Julian Road. My Mum remembers well going down into Mrs Franklin's basement kitchen which was below street level, to try and shelter from the bombs dropping all around. Mrs Franklin was the lady who owned the house in 32 Morford Street and my mum and her family lived in the flat upstairs.
My father's family the Cowley's were living in Stirtingale Avenue at the time of the Blitz and he remembers well, he has told me, to be able to stand at the bottom of the garden in Stirtingale Avenue and see the fires from the bombing of Bath and Bristol.
I hope this information helps. This is a wonderful web sites which I didn't know existed.
Date: Mon Jan 08, 2007 - 20:11:32
Date: Fri Jan 5, 2007 - 17:15:22
Date: Mon Dec 11, 2006 - 12:06:30
Date: Thu Dec 07, 2006 - 05:51:10
In the morning I remember walking up to Junior school in Dover Place, picking our way through the rubble blown from the bombing in nearby Snow Hill, to the school naturally hoping that the school had been bombed. No - but we were given the day off because of the broken glass everywhere. So off we went trawling the streets looking for bomb debris and shrapnel which was barterable.
Even when we returned to school after repairs the effects were felt in that the kitchens making school dinners were damaged to the extent that what small meals we did receive were bolstered by bread and jam purchased locally. My task was to collect the bread from Youngs Bakery.
I always picked hot freshly baked loaves from the bread racks which by the time I returned to school were a sorry sight where I had picked the corners off.
I remember electricity, gas and water being off for periods and damage to a brick lined sewer in our street which laid open an ovoid shape, almost large enough to stand in.
60 plus years later memories of the bombs are still very clear, the whistle and the noise and the ground shaking.
Date: Fri Jul 28, 2006 - 22:53:46
Kind regards Julie
(I have responded to this by e-mail).
Date: Fri Jun 23, 2006 - 17:05:56
I remember that the morning after the first night the the only people around was the Tea Bar of the Salvation Army. We had our windows blown out owing to a bomb falling at the rear of Richmond Place. It fell in Bill Phillip's Field. He had a farm behind Richmond Place. The Salvation Army van came to Beacon Hill Common. I can do more later if anyone wishes.
Date: Sat Apr 8, 2006 - 19:33:12
After the second night they discovered an unexploded bomb at the Co-op and we had to go to friends in Englishcombe Village. I was very young but I remember it very well. I got a perforated ear-drum and was sent to my grandparents in Scotland for the rest of the war.
My father Major GD Scott received the OBE for his efforts during that period which seems so incredible in this day and age. I remember stood at our front door and watching people walking along in night clothes. My mother went out and gave someone my brother's push chair.
Date: Tue Oct 4, 2005 - 18:54:48
I was 6 years + at the time and my oldest memory was looking out of our bedroom window and witness the Cabinet Makers all ablaze (we use to call these works the Aircraft Works). I also recall the back door being blown off and never found. My father was in the Royal navy and away at the time.
We then had to move from this house to safer ground in Bathford where we all came through the ordeal unharmed.
Date: Thu Oct 14, 2004 - 20:58:42
I know I was very young at the time of the Blitz. Of course we were all used to the sirens, it was a daily occurrence. The first night when the bombing started we went into the coal cellar under the front steps, We being my Grandmother, My Aunt and her two month old baby, and Miss Palmer who had a room at the top of the house. My Grandfather, my Mother and my Aunt were outside, I guess you called them Home Guards.
It was very dark, the adults were very tense, each time they heard a bomb falling there was crying and praying, and then the sighs of relief. Sometimes the bombs were very close, the houses on the opposite side of the street were totally destroyed and the people who lived there were all killed. Eight I believe. Our house was hit several times, the roof was blown off, and there was a lot of smoke and fire, the smell of burning rubber was very strong, we were told that a motorbike in our neighbour's yard was burning. All of a sudden there was a big commotion outside, it was my Grandmothers family from Ashley Terrace, their house had been hit, so we were joined my Great-Grandmother, my Aunt and three cousins and their dog. It was really crowded.
The next morning my Grandfather took me with to examine the damages. Lots of soot. Broken windows. Strange things, that he pointed out to me. The bathroom window was blown out from the wall, sitting in the bath tub, the window pane unbroken. In the front room a vase was sitting on the window ledge still full of water, the violets were strewn all over the room. Then we went to the attic. There was no roof. That was a scary place. I held Grandpa's hand tight. It was a strange world we saw: the huge crater across the street, and a tree in the middle of the road that had been uprooted and bent into an arch.
That day we went to stay with some relatives who lived in the country near Combe Down. I think back and wonder what it was like for them to see all of us arriving. There must have been almost 20 of us.
That night when the sirens started, everyone left the house and went to the old stone quarry. There was a full moon, the country lane was like a tunnel, hedges on either side. There were some very low flying planes, I could see the fire from the guns as they fired on us running down the road. When we arrived at the quarry there were people already there, huddled together. Some had candles, the sound of people shovelling trash, moving it back from the mouth of the quarry to make room for the people. There was a horrible sour smell there. I believe we stayed at Combe Down three nights, returning to the quarry one more time.
Passing through Bath on our return home we saw the devastation, bombed buildings, reminding me of a doll's house with the side lifted off, the furnishings falling out. These are memories that are so vivid and chilling. I still hate the sound of sirens, low flying planes, the smell of burning.
In 1989 when we had a severe earthquake in California, when I saw the destruction in a local grocery store, it all came back, I started to shiver and cry. It all came flooding back. I have many childhood memories of those war years. Our neighbour took in young refugees from other areas. One girl in particular stands out. I never really met her, our bedrooms were on the same floor, she was a young teenager and had been severely burned in a bombing, her face and hands were covered with bandages, we held mirrors out the window and talked to each other. She had no idea where her parents were. One day she was gone.
Date: Sun Jul 4, 2004 - 12:56:27
At about 11:30 pm the organiser said the dance must end as an air raid was taking place on the city of Bath. We left the dance hall and hurried to the home of our cousin, Wilcox the Baker, at Combe Road, Combe Down, where we sheltered in the basement until the end of the first raid. Even there, some two miles from the city centre, the noise was terrifying in its intensity. The raid lasted about 1 hour and we stayed with our cousin for another hour or so before my sister and I decided to walk to our home at 18 Upper Bloomfield Road, Odd Down, as quickly as possible as we knew our parents would be worried.
We were proceeding along Bradford Road between Fox Hill and Entry Hill when the second raid started. From memory I believe it was close to 3:30 am. There were no houses at Fox Hill at that time, just fields belonging to Springfield Farm and we had a clear view over the city towards Lansdown. We could clearly see the huge glow and smoke billowing to the sky from the fires already burning from the first raid.
As this second raid started the planes came in very low, it seemed almost above our heads and were diving down over the city. In previous months we had watched the raids on Bristol many times from the top of Rush Hill, where we could clearly see the fires and explosions as they were taking place, but this was a new experience for us, very frightening and very close. We watched, spellbound, for some time and then as far as I recall we ran all the way home. Our parents were very relieved to see us; they were sheltering in the smallest room in the house which was a coal cellar between the larder and the living room. Being inside the cellar gave us the protection of two walls either side.
We had two near misses; one bomb hit Colborne Road close to the Wansdyke Inn about 100 yards away and another hit Ballantyne and Rudds Garage, in Upper Wellsway, again about a 100 yards away. The only damage to our house was a few cracked windows, front door being jammed and the back door being blown open.
Early the following morning I went with my employer (who had a lorry) into Bath, to see if we could help. The damage was horrific, the civil defence and fire brigade were doing everything they could. There were hosepipes everywhere. My clearest memories are of the devastation at the Bear Flat, Oldfield Park and Green Park, and the ruins of the churches also stand out in my memory.
St James Church was being used as a mortuary, parties of civil defence workers were combing the buildings looking for survivors, and we heard of several success stories during the day where people had been pulled from the wreckage of their homes. Sad stories kept emerging of tragedies where whole families had been killed, and the loss of life of the Civil Defence workers killed by a direct hit on an air raid shelter opposite the Old Scala Cinema in Oldfield Park.
We helped a dentist, Mr Butcher, recover some of his equipment from the basement of his property at Green Park where they were also looking for survivors and were then told to clear the area because of the danger of collapsing buildings. I can remember old tramlines sticking out from the ground close to the Midland Station at Green Park. The trams had been taken out of service a couple of years previously, if I remember correctly.
My memory of things that happened during the rest of the day is vague, but I remember making several trips to the countryside, taking people in my employer’s lorry. Here they found refuge wherever they could in case the bombers returned at night time.
We were without gas and water, I cannot remember if the electricity was affected. I was at home with my family when the bombers returned after midnight on the night of the 26th. If anything the noise seemed louder than ever. Although we had a Morrison shelter in our living room, which served as a table for the duration of the war, my father thought having the two walls either side of us was the safest place in the house. We spent the duration of the raid (about an hour it seemed) in the coal cellar again.
There was a smell of burning. This turned out to be soot that had shaken from the chimney (had we been in the Morrison shelter the soot would have covered us). We were lucky that we only had the clearing of this to tend to in the morning. The next day we again used the lorry to take people to places such as Dunkerton, Combe Hay and Peasedown. Once there they were taken in by the local people, to shelter and rest during following days. Jim Hunt, my employer, at that time had relatives at Trowbridge and we decided to take their offer of shelter during the night of the 27th. We slept on the floor of the Liberal Club in Trowbridge that night and returned home the following day as the bombers had not returned.
After all this time what still amazes me is that with all the loss of life and the devastation that surrounded us, how seemingly quickly things returned to normal. Perhaps it’s because of the passing of time and the innocence of youth.
Date: Fri Jun 4, 2004 - 20:42:45
On the first night we stayed in a Wood Copse up behind Newton Park college as it is now known. The second night we spent in a Barn at Chaves Farm at Newton-st-Loe, I remember going to Third Ave my Mother's parents lived in No 5 and were both killed in the air raid shelter. My Fathers step dad was also killed and he lived in Herbert Road, My Mother and myself and my two Brothers seem to go from one place to another trying to find out were there bodies had been taken to.
One of the things I remember was the clock that had fallen out of the Tower and lay in the middle of the road, from a Church that used to stand where Woolworths was built on after the war.
Date: Sat Feb 7, 2004 - 12:16:20
I also remember Mrs Hoopers Toy Shop and Jack Allens cafe (and lardy cake - tuppence a slice and afterwards you could fight anybody - but you couldn't swim very far!). There was a wonderful atmosphere of relief and excitement at the end of the war with huge celebrations and street parties on VE Day.
Date: Thu Jan 15, 2004 - 00:02:49
More of our family lived in Elm Grove Terrace, only just escaping in time when the whole row of houses was demolished. My great grandfather virtually had the front door blown out behind him as he ran down the path.
No doubt my mother will contribute her memories to this important project. A sincere thank you to all involved for all their hard, and necessary, work.
Date: Fri Dec 12, 2003 - 02:47:24
In 1944. I was a soldier, stationed in Chippenham with the American Fourth Armored Division and would pass through Bath to go Bristol.
I met a WRAF (young lady) and we were to meet at the Chippenham Train Station. But it never happened because we were restricted to the Barracks and sent down to guard the Plymouth shores in preparation of the invasion.
A copy of my book for free, "OUR BLOOD AND HIS GUTS" in which I take a couple of POT SHOTS at General Bernard Montgomery.
I loved England--Great Memories and People.
Date: Thu Aug 28, 2003 - 05:44:57
This story is not widely-known; the great sacrifices of London and Coventry are more familiar, but after visiting Bath, I looked into the wartime histories of Bath, Norwich, York, Dover, Rye, Portsmouth. As a professor, I was interested in how civilians respond when suddenly thrust into war! It's so ironic that while doing this research two years ago in Canterbury, the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 occurred in my home country, making my historical concern tragically up-to- Date.
The best widely-available sources I've found about the Bath Blitz are Niall Rothnie's The Baedeker Blitz, and Britain Under Fire: The Bombing of Britain's Cities, by Charles Whiting. On your site I see more, local books I will buy for my studies. So far I've found that Canterbury and you have the best historical coverage, while York and Portsmouth offer rather little to remind us.
So far in my research I'm impressed with how Bath responded, given that there were almost no anti-aircraft nor fighter plane defences against the surprise German attack, even though London had moved government offices to Bath for safety. And the shelters were few and inadequate, while many of your fire trucks were driving off to Bristol, assuming this raid was for them not you.
I'll be in Bath from Sept. 14-17,2003 and nearby thereafter for a few days, to see what I can discover about those events 60 years ago.
Date: Sat Jul 12, 2003 - 20:32:49
Mum had just finished work as a bus conductress on the night of the first raid, and was walking home along the riverside alongside the cricket ground when the bombs started to fall. She hurried along the towpath and as she reached the arches that carry the railway from Bath Spa Station she heard the whistle of a bomb. As she jumped over a small brick wall at the terraced houses the blast threw her over it (the wall is still in situ 2003) when the bomb hit St Johns RC Church. When she came to she found the body of a priest about 10yds from her with no head, as she frequently recalled!
Mum died in 2003 aged 87yrs.
Date: Sun May 18, 2003 - 18:36:33
The next morning I was taken to The Theatre Royal where I was reunited with my mother and my brother and sister. I was then told that the blast had killed my father James Horsman Dargue.
Date: Thu Feb 13, 2003 - 14:45:18
I was four and a half years old on the weekend of 25th April '42 and can remember sitting on my mother's lap in the basement and burying my head in her chest. There was a lot of rumbling of bombs dropping and I remember feeling very frightened. There was a tremendous clatter and my mum yelled "they're coming down the steps !!" (to the basement). But apparently the Germans hadn't invaded; it was a corrugated roofing sheet from the outside toilet!
The next memory I have is of us coming back from the shelter (no memory of going) and my big brother carrying me through streets with the gutters filled with broken glass. My mother later told me that the house was demolished as it was unsafe. I know it was almost opposite a pub and i think there was a school further down the road.
My mother took the six of us under working age back to London, where the Salvation Army got us 2 rooms in Camberwell. Needless to say us kids spent the rest of the war on an underground platform and later in the deep shelter at London Bridge, but we didn't get bombed in London. Incidentally, my father went for "war work" from Bath a while before the raids and we didn't see him again. He had run off with a lady friend, so I expect I have a few half siblings out there somewhere!!
Date: Sun Feb 2, 2003 - 05:57:41
Date: Mon Oct 21, 2002 - 16:09:34
Date: Sun Apr 28, 2002 - 15:55:59
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