Thread: The War Years
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Old 9th February 2019, 15:12
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John Rogers United States John Rogers is offline
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Location: St.louis,Missouri USA.
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It was common practice for the kids to go out after an air raid and look for souvenirs, bomb fragments, shrapnel, and tail fins from the incendiaries bombs and of the unexploded A.A shells that fell back on the ground. It was like show and tell, and we would trade for items we didn't have. Then one day at school the bomb disposal team had a little talk with us and told what could happen if that prized shell we had exploded in your hand or in your house, after that a lot of the boys were not so keen on collecting.

On 16 January 1941 my relatives lost their home in Avonmouth, they lived across the street from the park, they lost everything, but felt very lucky because two doors away people lost their lives.

On the night of 11 /12 April 1941 the family was already in the shelter when the bombs began to fall, the ground was shaking with the large explosions, we were peeking out of the shelter door when the ARP man came to the shelter and told us that three fire bombs had gone through the roof of the house and landed in the front bedroom, lucky for us one did not go off and the other two were put out very fast by the firemen by placing sand bags over them, the only damage was broken tile where they came through the roof and two burned spots on the floor. The smell of the phosphorous remained for a long time in the bedroom.

A hundred yards away a large bomb reported to be a land mine had dropped by parachute behind the homes on Priory Rd, the explosion blew down 10 Row houses, the blast was so tremendous it blew a piano in one house clear across the street, through the front wall and landed in the back room of the house. Five people were killed in the homes, one of them a little boy I knew and played on the street with. For months afterwards we would play on the rubble that once lived one of our playmates. It was years later before they re-built the homes back to where they were original. I believe one day in the future they will find many more bombs still buried in the mud of the Avon River and in the fields around the smelting works, that land was once covered with water and it is very soft.

This data on the bombing of Bristol was put together in 1970 for a Bristol Ex Pats chat board group who were interested in the air raids on the city; the paper was updated in June 1997 for spelling and dates.


FOOTNOTE:

Bristol was the fifth most heavily bombed British city of World War II. The presence of Bristol Harbour, Avonmouth Dock and the Bristol Aeroplane Company made it a target for bombing by the Nazi German Luftwaffe who were able to trace a course up the River Avon from Avonmouth using reflected moonlight on the waters into the heart of the city.
Between 24 November 1940 and 11 April 1941 there were six major bombing raids.on the city, In total Bristol received 548 air raid alerts and 77 air raids with:
• 919 tons of high-explosive bombs and myriad incendiary bombs
• 1299 people killed, 1303 seriously injured, 697 rescued from debris



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