BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

12 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Three Nights Blitz - Swansea Town February 1941

by RLYerbury

Contributed by 
RLYerbury
Location of story: 
Swansea
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A2911204
Contributed on: 
11 August 2004

In the blackout the town usually had an eerie silence, but during those three nights it looked more like a Christmas tree as it had been snowing – commencing with those floating candles (parachute flares dropped by the Luftwaffe) and eventually red fires engulfing the shopping centres assaulted by incendiaries from the heavens. Dad, who was a railway inspector at Swansea Victoria had ‘his’ glass roof completely demolished.

To this day I can still remember the sound of crackling, ignited buildings over the town….and the smell of burning…. although the sound I remember most was the mournful “boom” when the church bell of St Mary’s gave up the fight, collapsing to the ground. Any citizen of Swansea over 60 years of age will probably remember this!!

It was a bright moonlit night reflecting on the snowfall, further aiding the Luftwaffe who besides, we understood, employed beamed navigation. Water mains had been damaged, so the water had to be boiled before drinking. Swansea Hospital in Phyllis Parade had been damaged. Buses were still running but when it was finally over we went for a walk about town to witness piles of concrete and twisted girders asking “now where is ‘our’ market and cinemas, and how could such little projectiles (incendiaries) the same weight as a bag of sugar, burn concrete and steel like hell?” Two large stores, Ben Evans and David Evans, had gone in this way.

YMCA mobile canteens were supplying food plus cups of teas for thousands of citizens had become homeless. Also there were not only workers cleaning the rubble, but maintaining gas, electricity, and telephones too.

Sadly, we learnt days afterwards over 200 people had been killed.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Forum Archive

This forum is now closed

These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - RL Yerley Swansea

Posted on: 11 August 2004 by elviraberyl

Dear RL Yerley,
Sorry for the formal greeting but I don't know if you are a man or woman. We aren't formal on here at all, in fact, very friendly.I was interested in your letter about the 3 night blitz in Swansea in 1941. I too shared the experiences and have written A starry night in Swansea 1941.
I am having a few problems with my computer and wrote to you a few hours ago but it evidentally didn't post. There are a few other stories about those sad nights in Swansea. I'll try to send this and if you want to get in touch my personal number is 532089. I would be pleased to hear from you.
Best wishes
elviraberyl

Message 1 - Mr/Mrs Yerbury

Posted on: 11 August 2004 by elviraberyl

Apologies for mis-spelling your name
elviraberyl

Message 1 - swansea wales 3 nights of blitz spring 1941

Posted on: 17 May 2005 by happyGramps

Hello,I was in the Merchant Navy (by accident) I sailed from Halifax Dec.1940 and spent Christmas half way to Swansea where I had a room in the sailors home down by the tracks.We lost the convoy and arrived alone.

About the three nights of the blitz. I recall a "rumor" that if the movie "The Great Dictator" was shown in any city that it would be bombed!
It seems to me that the movie came to Swansea but I cant be sure. I do remember though helping some firemen with hose against a fire at a brewery one of the nights of the blitz. I liked Swansea and used to walk out to the Mummbles.

R C Cameron

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
South West Wales Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy