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The Bombed House - A Near Miss

by Duncan_burgoyne

Contributed by 
Duncan_burgoyne
People in story: 
Elsie May Bewley
Location of story: 
Bath, Somerset
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3285227
Contributed on: 
16 November 2004

April 1941
There was a raid on Bristol, we could see the red in the sky from the fires. We stayed in the basement kitchen until the all clear close to midnight. My mother and I then went to bed. Shortly afterwards we heard the sound of falling masonry, I said to my mother that we had better get downstairs, on loooking up I could see it was a brilliant moonlit night, the roof had gone! We put on our dressing gowns and slippers. We had difficulty getting out of the bedroom, because the wardrobe had fallen over. We called to my brother Fred, who was in the next room, time and time again but there was no answer. We became very worried in case he was injured. He suddenly appeared fully clothed in his fireman's uniform. He made sure we were all right and then left for duty. We didn't see him again for 24 hours. As we tried to go downstairs someone shouted out "Be careful", as the other half of the staircase had gone. It was amazing how quickly the ARP were on the scene.

We were taken to make our way to the Rest Centre. Fortunately a neighbour in the next street invited us into her house, which was undamaged. As it became light my mother asked me to go back to our house as she had forgotten her false teeth! I was appalled by the sight that greetd me. We lived at No.9 Prince's Buildings, 10,11 and 12 had completely disappeared. I wasn't allowed to go in. The ARP Warden said it was unsafe. I was very upset as I knew I would have to tell my Mum her home had been destroyed. Maude (my sister) lived at the other end of the city so we moved in with her until we were rehoused by the council.

We realised later on that if our lodger (Geoffrey), whom I later married, had been at home that night would have been killed as his bed was covered in masonry, bricks and timber from the roof. Luckily he had been on duty that night fire-watching at the Admiralty Building.

The bomb that had done all the damage had been dropped by a German plane that had been damaged and was lightening its load before trying to fly home.

I used to have to tell this story nearly every time my youngest grand-daughter(Kate)came to stay, when she was young. She couldn't understand that if Geoffrey had been killed then she wouldn't have been there!

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