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Wartime and the Blitz

The Blitz - 14th November 1940

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Heathite
361 of 404  Sat 12th Oct 2019 1:59pm  
Off-topic / chat  

Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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362 of 404  Sat 12th Oct 2019 4:06pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

Heathite, Midland Red, Wonder if he died from being buried? Don't understand that bit about 1939 but amused to see the old Fox Inn mentioned - demolished about 1936 time. But once again, thanks.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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363 of 404  Fri 25th Oct 2019 3:24pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

Wearethemods, Hope you’re not offended by what I posted, but I do have a chip on my shoulder about the blitz, and what they wrote, or didn't write. In 11 pages Levine said like others, it wasn't the firemen’s fault they ran out of water - damn right, but for sure it was someone’s, people were paid high wages to know. For 12 months we had watched newsreels, read papers, of the bombing of cities like Hull, and other ports, seen hoses torn, telegraph wires down etc, lack of sand and water containers, so where were they? Levine said 124 night fighters couldn't find 500 or so bombers. I was 13 years old, around 8pm I watched bombers in formation crossing the moon in orderly full formation - around 1am they were still there, same height, same speed, same formation, same direction. You didn't need to be clever, all they needed was to be a little lower - hand me a bigger gun and it would have been like a duck shoot. No wonder the Poles were angry at Baginton. Nothing can stop high explosives but war lords or whoever should have been equal to the situation after watching the last few months. People were confused, a feeling of utter hoplessness. Well, if they did, those firemen, police, ambulance, and hundreds more, and all the workers who went to factories next morning, were a brilliant, confused, heroic Coventry people, that these writers would have a huge job to equal.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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364 of 404  Sat 26th Oct 2019 10:11am  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:433

I'm not offended Kaga in the slightest. I was accurately reflecting genuine stories that Joshua Levine has narrated in his book. As an aside, my parents were 'bombed out' that night (just off Hearsall Lane), and were 'sheltering' in my dad’s car in Tile Hill Woods but couldn't sleep as an anti-aircraft gun was positioned not far away! I was told many stories about Coventry during the war from mostly my mum’s first hand accounts as dad was in the Fleet Air Arm. After working at Owen Owen (she was laid off after the bombing), she trained to be a welder and worked at Armstrong Siddeley. My uncle was killed that night, an ARP Warden, apparently without a mark, it was the blast. So although I wasn't born then, I also have memories from people no longer with us. Sad
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Prof
Gloucester
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365 of 404  Sat 26th Oct 2019 11:38am  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1128

Just for the record, I think it is well established that the water mains were blasted by the bombing, and that visiting fire crews could not get close to the Cathedral so sadly the people there had to watch it burn.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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366 of 404  Sat 26th Oct 2019 1:34pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

Prof. Sorry. That's not true. The Provost Howard said another shower of incendiaries fell, and four appeared to strike the roof of the Girdlers Chapel above the east end - these again were tackled by all four of us, but with the "failing of our supplies of sand, water" and physical strength we were unable to make an impression. At last about 9.30 the Solihull Fire Brigade arrived at the vestry door. Length after length of hose around the Cathedral but alas, the water ceased again. About 10.30 the water came on again, a hose was brought up the spiral staircase to the vestries and carried through the Sanctuary door, but the pressure was low and it soon gave out. The firemen now left the Cathedral for the last time, nothing more could be done. The Provost remained a little longer, then carried out the colours and the altar book, the gospels book to the police station. From 11pm to 1.30am he stood in the porch of the police station with a dozen or so Solihull firemen and watched the Cathedral burn. Everyone knew the mains would go quickly, we had seen it on the newsreels for over 12 months. So where were these water and sand containers as back up? And nothing in place to replace the phones, kids became messengers, voluntary. Wearethemods. I was surprised that you seemed to be surprised with articles in the book. Many books say they were surprised with the few casualties, in such a raid, but the majority of people between 18 and 28 were not in the town, and then evacuees. Majority of the ARP, HG, etc were over forty and been through it before, and to me it was they that kept the people calm, with rescue and encouragement on the streets. Even if you were just fire watching it was good to have an elder old soldier at your side, but you will read little of that (my opinion).
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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367 of 404  Sun 27th Oct 2019 10:03am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1466

On 25th Oct 2019 3:24pm, Kaga simpson said: Levine said 124 night fighters couldn't find 500 or so bombers. I was 13 years old, around 8pm I watched bombers in formation crossing the moon in orderly full formation - around 1am they were still there, same height, same speed, same formation, same direction. You didn't need to be clever, all they needed was to be a little lower - hand me a bigger gun and it would have been like a duck shoot. No wonder the Poles were angry at Baginton.
Hi Kaga, I can't disbelieve what you say about the bombers being visible from the ground, they must've shown up well against a full moon. However, perhaps the situation was very different from the viewpoint of someone already flying around at that height. In 1944 Guy Gibson, of Dam Busters fame, wrote this account.... One particular night, I remember, the Huns were bombing Coventry. Everyone will remember the occasion because it was one of the first heavy raids made on a provincial town. I was above and saw it burn, and the only consolation was that I had seen Kiel burn better. There was very little flak, in fact none, but No. 5 Bomber Group had put in the air about fifty Hampdens whose job was to circle the city at 500 feet layers, above the city, and shoot down any twin-engine aircraft they saw. As there were about two hundred Huns as well floating around the night sky, someone thought that someone might see something, but this did not occur. I never saw a Hampden or a German bomber the whole evening, and this convinced me once and for all that the night sky is very, very big. Are we to believe that he was not telling the truth? I certainly wouldn't have wanted to tell him that! I guess unless we were to fly 1940's planes at night ourselves, in that situation, we could never argue with the words of such a distinguished pilot.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Helen F
Warrington
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368 of 404  Sun 27th Oct 2019 11:30am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1646

When Notre Dame caught fire, I couldn't help but think of St Michael's. The bulk of the former has only been preserved by the interior stone vault that St Michael's didn't have. A month or so ago I read that the rest is still at risk of collapse until they can strengthen the stonework in the way the wooden roof did. Once the fire took hold, there was nothing modern equipment and unlimited resources could do to stop it.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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369 of 404  Sun 27th Oct 2019 2:00pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

Rob, hi. No, I would not disbelieve him, Did it read I was blaming aircrew? God forbid. I have read 'enemy coast ahead' many times, and most of the real wartime books, including one from a survivor in the valley from the water from the dam that killed over a thousand friends of Britain. Rob, our ack-ack gunners had but seconds to gauge the speed the height etc (that altered from their flight path) and did. So with hours to play with, I find it difficult that those planners underground couldn't relay some information to aircrew? But I do thank you for the feedback on this topic, or any feedback on what I post. Regards, Kaga.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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370 of 404  Sun 27th Oct 2019 4:20pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

Rob, my email has gone down. In Feb 1945 the war was in its dying throes, but still a lot of action, but I was surrounded and being trained by veterans, officers, instructors, cooks, etc - all had been in action behind enemy lines. Incredible tales as part of my training, like walking 60 miles of freezing mountains. In the 1950s I had the time the money and the fitness to see a few of those places and try and judge for myself, so I hope I have good judgement on wartime happenings, But by then it became more of a holiday experience.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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Thread starter
371 of 404  Mon 28th Oct 2019 9:17am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1466

Kaga, your experiences are absolutely invaluable to us all - I will always be very grateful for, and learn from, the real-life stories that you relate to us.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
NeilsYard
Coventry
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372 of 404  Mon 28th Oct 2019 9:49am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2339

I echo what Rob says, Kaga. Thumbs up
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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373 of 404  Mon 28th Oct 2019 9:54am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

Rob. Thanks - we will never know the truth about the war, but without going too deep, Baginton was a fighter station (specially equipped for night flying) and got hit in the blitz, yet was not used that night, and then we read a bomber squadron was used. Bomber crews were not experienced in finding the enemy, but trained to avoid the enemy. The mind boggles at some of the things we read.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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374 of 404  Wed 30th Oct 2019 1:18pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

Rob, hi. You mentioned Guy Gibson, known through out the world for the breaching the wall of the Mohne dam. So just a few thoughts on dear old Coventry and this forum. Let’s go back around three years before that. The Germans breached the wall of the canal in Coventry, nowhere near that size, but thousands of gallons of water rushed out, flooding a few houses. I believe it did stop the production of the power station for a few days, but far from being world known, of all the posts and all the pictures of the bombing, not one word, not one photo, on this forum. Just one other thought, Only the south lock gate at Sutton Stop saved the Coventry canal all the way to Bedworth being drained, also only the planks at Tusses Bridge saved the canal from being drained from Rugby to Coventry. Think what amount of water that would have been! Just my thoughts! Cheers
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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375 of 404  Thu 31st Oct 2019 9:56am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3128

In the 18th century in the north of Coventry the land had a dip like the shape of a bowl - through this bowl ran a stream, from like ten o'clock to three o'clock. Where the stream ran out of the bowl they built a culvert under Aldermans Green Road. About a dozen houses were in the dip. Rather than go through the bowl with the Oxford Canal, they went round the lip for about a mile - from where the lip hit flat ground Sutton Stop they built a lock. At Hillmorton, Rugby, they built another lock. In between there was this ribbon of billions of gallons of water. To protect this huge amount of water if it should be breached they built grooves at the side where planks could be inserted across in vunerable places so they would only lose a small amount. In the early twenty century in the bottom of the bowl they built a power station and 1939 the placed a huge ack-ack gun in the bowl. But by 1939 the canal had lost out to road and rail transport and the canal was in utter despair. Now the bowl was in danger of being breached, so about eight volunteers were trained to help the one man who knew the ropes. But there was a phoney war - little happened for twelve months, the evacuation project fell through and so did the carrying of gas masks, shelters lost upkeep, and the volunteers lost heart. Only three showed up on the night of the raid, but they did get the planks in. But “bang!” - the first German bomber with his first four bombs that attacked the bowl scored a direct hit on the lip, water rushed down into the bowl. For a short time the water reached the edge of the gun emplacement and the power station, and the dozen houses, but the planks had saved them - the houses, the gun and the power station - from millions more of gallons of water and submerging. And the story did get submerged in the aftermath of the raid.
Wartime and the Blitz - The Blitz - 14th November 1940

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