“…there was only rubble. I couldn’t find anyone. The town was all flat”. This was the reaction of one Swansea fireman’s wife following the Three Nights’ Blitz, 19th-21st February 1941.
Although Swansea had sustained casualties as a result of Luftwaffe attacks prior to this, the sustained bombardment over 72 hours was unique outside London. Surprisingly, some of Swansea’s oldest buildings, the Castle, Swansea Museum, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery survived but the town’s commercial heart was razed, with the Ben Evans store, which seemed to have supplied everyone with everything for upward of fifty years, was flattened.
The Luftwaffe unleashed 1273 high explosive bombs and 56,000 incendiary devices to devastate an area of 41 acres using target maps based on aerial reconnaissance photographs. 857 properties were destroyed, 11,000 properties were damaged. 230 people were killed, 409 were injured.
The belief that Wales was too far west to be of interest to German bombers was unfounded, “…when the war came to an end Dylan Thomas’s ‘ugly lovely town was a disembowelled wreck”. (John Davies, historian)
Find out more…
Read more about Swansea during World War Two… Civil Defence