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Three Nights Blitz on Swansea

by brian l

Contributed by 
brian l
People in story: 
brian thomas legg
Location of story: 
townhill swansea
Article ID: 
A2002609
Contributed on: 
09 November 2003

At the outbreak of war my eldest brother was evacuated to Carmarthen with most other children but I stayed home with my Mam Gram and younger brother we all had gas masks issued to us ,I had one which we called mickeymouse mask. My baby brother had to be put in a sort of sack with a small window and laced end to seal it,then we took turns to use a hand pump for air.My Father was a heavy lifting foreman at LLandarcy oil refinery,and exempt army service because of his work,so he had to travel all over the country on warwork which entails moving oil tanks underground for safety and out of sight of enemy aircraft. We at this time were having numerous raids over Swansea, and the surrounding areas but these were nothing untill the three nights blitz it is hard to try to explain the terror and fear everyone was put through on these nighttime raids,my Dad had come home for a few days and also being in the homeguard had just come off duty.On one of the nights bombing I stood with him holding his hand he with his homeguard helmet on and I with his ARP helmet.Looking from Gwynfor road Townhill towards Penlan which was lit up like fairyland by the incendiary bombs and explosions,it was mostly fields then, and not an estate as it is today thank god,it is an experience I will never forget,after each raid my pals and I would go looking for shrapnel over Townhill and Mayhill. Tielo cresent was compleately distroyed all the houses were just piles of rubble,sometimes we found the fins of incendiary bombs which our mothers used as ornaments,at this time I was at Gorse shcool when there was a daylight raid and we were all herded into the boilerroom under the school halL,I remember on one occasion a teacher was knocked out when he hit his head on a roof girder owing to restricted headroom.During a lull in the bombing my Mam would take me and my younger brother over to ST Thomas to visit relatives,the town was one big bomb site,you could walk from Mount Pleasant to Castle Street picking our way through the rubble,where David Evens now stands the army had erected a bailey bridge for people to gain access to Castle Sreet, from there you could look all the way to the then Plaza cinema in now the Kingsway, every building was damaged or distroyed.One night we were all under our living room table my Gran Mam my younger brother and myself , when we heard bombs coming down they fell in a line from Gwynedd Avenue to Elphin Cresent which was directly over our house ,I will never foreget the screaming noise it was deafening and the explosions shook our house,a block of four houses were compleatly distroyed just a hundred yards down the road how lucky we all were .I went in the morning to look,luckily no one was killed but its chimney pots with there assorted brickwork was still in tact laying on the houses bases with the out- line of the rooms still with there oil cloth in place.Then came the time the American soldiers arrived, they were camped in Singleton Park they would sometimes march past Gorse School while we were having a break in the yard,we used to ask them any candy sandy any gum chum I couldn:t tell you all the replies we got,because they are not printable
At long last we had V E day what a time we all had every one dressed up there were street parties every where with flags flying from every house all the boys and Girls marched all over Townhill with made up drums out of empty tins and combs with paper covering them for instruments,what a time we all had .About this time I went to Weavers Flour mill dock where Sainsburys Supermarket is now with the school to see a captured German U Boat moored there, we all went aboard and was shown arround I can still remember how cramped it was.I hope and pray young children dont ever have to go through this experience I and my generation had too
B T Legg

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Message 1 - three night blitz on swansea

Posted on: 20 February 2004 by elviraberyl

Dear Brian
I read your article about the blitz on Swansea with great interest. I have written my experiences too, under the title, 'A Starry night in Swansea 1941'.
I lived in Gwynfor Road at that time. I was 13 years old. Did you live in the same road? I would be interested in hearing from you.

elviraberyl

 

Message 2 - three night blitz on swansea

Posted on: 04 April 2004 by brian l

Hi
I also lived in Gwynfor Road at
no 41,but cant recall your name
Brian L

 

Message 3 - three night blitz on swansea

Posted on: 09 April 2004 by elviraberyl

Hi Brian
What a coincidence that we were in the same road on that awful night in the three night blitz.
I lived at number 38 Gwynfor Rd, over the road from you. I don't know if you read my piece, A starry night in Swansea but you must have been with your father watching the red sky as I was standing on the back door step with my mother.
Memory is strange, especially as we grow older but I feel I remember a Mrs Legg in our road. My name was Cadwallader.
Would like to hear from you.
Best wishes
Elvira

 

Message 4 - three night blitz on swansea

Posted on: 27 June 2004 by brian l

Hi Elvira
I am sorry i havent responded to your e/mail befor but have had problems with my computor
Your name does ring a bell?.Can you remember Mr Cole who was blind and lived next door to us at No 39,Mr Taplin lived next door up who had two daughters Dolly and Betty also two Sons Oliver and Robert, living your side of the road lived the Fentons with son dennis and a daughter Thelma ,also can you remerber the Jones with four boys Terry Brian Ken and Barry who was born after the war and played football for the Swans I could go on for ever with memorys of those now far off days
Brian L
?

 

Message 5 - three night blitz on swansea

Posted on: 29 June 2004 by elviraberyl

Hi, Brian,
I was pleased to hear from you and have been searching my memory for the various names you mentioned. Jones, as you know is pretty common but I couldn't recall any of the ones you mentioned. I wonder if you remember the Lee family. They lived at 32 Gwynfor Rd and there was a Renee and Kenny, there were, I think, one or two more brothers but the names have gone. In my day they used to push a barrow, for rags and bones! Far off days, eh?
I don't remember a blind man, Mr Cole either. I have some papers of Gors Rd School, of pupils when the school started in June 1934. I was one of them. Among the papers is mentioned a Sidney John Legg, birth 16-2-28, so he would be near my age. The address is Lon Teify. Could he be a relation?
I know the name Fenton and Taplin but can't remember the children. In No 39 is recorded a John Ashcroft. I can't recall him but he was a year older than me.
I was born in Treboeth in 1928. I gather from your story on the blitz that you were a little fella?
I'm not surprised my name rang a bell to you. Once heard never forgotten! Do you still live in Townhill?
I've been in London since 1948.
Once I start writing I go on and on. Hope this hasn't bored you, but it's good to be in touch with folk from our youth. Memories.
Best wishes
Elvira

 

Message 6 - three night blitz on swansea

Posted on: 04 August 2004 by brian l

Hi Elvira
In reply to your e/mail Sideny Legg is no relation to us.We moved to Gwynfor Rd in 1938 just before the outbreak of the war.My eldest brother bill was born in 1929,and i was born 1934 so we are all getting old.My Mam passed away last year aged 94.Regarding the Lee family one of the brothers name was Steve I think he was the eldest.I still live in Swansea at Llangyfelach
Best wishes Brian

 

Message 7 - three night blitz on swansea

Posted on: 07 August 2004 by elviraberyl

Hello Brian,
Thanks for your message, I've just found it. Sorry that Sidney wasn't your brother, but it was worth asking. Yes you are right, Steve, or Stevie was the eldest Lee boy. What I remember of them they were quite a family!
Sorry to hear that you lost your Mam last year. 94, that's wonderful. I'm sure I remember her. Can you describe her, was she thin or tubby?
Do you happen to recall the Philliparts, they lived at the back of me in Gwynedd Ave, and I think the boys could have been with you in Townhill school. Ron, the eldest, lives close to me, in Middlesex, and we are still in touch. I was very close to their family during the war as the family was good to me when I was alone in the air raids.
Nice to hear from you.
Best wishes
Elvira <:)>

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South East Wales Category
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