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- 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.
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