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Babs from Bedminster

by ActionBristol

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Location of story: 
Raleigh Road, Bristol
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
07 May 2005

This story is submitted by a volunteer on behalf of Radio Bristol Action Desk at City of Bristol College.

Babs was working at the Co-op Bedminster when war broke out which was then a drapers store. The day Filton was bombed the bomb went straight down East Street and Babs remembers her eldest brother was working at Filton as she was very worried.

At night both Babs and her brother came home from work to their home in Raleigh Road and had sandwiches which Mum had left before setting off to the shelter. The communial shelter was on Wills Factory ground where Mum and the family would stay at night. Babs and Frank (eldest brother) were Fire Watchers.

Babs remembers a giant bomb hole in Raleigh Road where Babs had witnessed a bus coming round a blind corner and going straight into the hole. The bus driver was badly hurt but the passengers on the bus were fortunately just shocked and not many people were involved.

In Raleigh Road outside of Babs house was another huge bomb hole which featured in the Bristol Evening Post and later in the Bristol Blitz. Winston Churchill and 6 people visited the site and spoke to Babs mum and shook her by the hand and said "you are doing a wonderful job and to keep going" Babs mum said she would never wash her hand again!

That night when they came home and had eaten their sandwiches all went to the shelter to see if mum was alright. When they returned home a small hole had appeared next to the "huge" hole and a Austen car had spun around the corner at a speed and ended up in the hole. Babs and the other kids helped to get the car out of the hole.

Minutes later Babs heard a scream of "down" from one of the fire watchers and then a tremendous bang and everyone ran for shelter and buried themselves down beside the low walls in the street for protection.

The bomb caused havoc and great damage in the street and hit the hole that Babs and the others were mintues before in helping the driver of the Austen car. A narrow escape for Babs.

Babs also remembers a fire bomb hitting the shelter. Babs ran from the house to the shelter and the doorway was on fire they had rescued the family but a young boy (aged about 14) ran straight through the shelter door and was badly burnt people were shouting and he subsequently died the next day from his burns.

Babs Dad was a night watchmen and fire watcher. Robbed one night. Babs parents were elderly and Babs eldest sister was like a Mum to Babs and took care of her.

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