Ghosts of the Norwich “Baedeker Blitz”

These images of Norwich’s “Baedeker Blitz” were sent to How to be a Retronaut by Nick Stone.

“The Baedeker Blitz was a series of retaliatory raids by the German air force on English cities in response to the bombing of the city of Lübeck. They targeted strategically relatively unimportant but picturesque cities in England. The cities were reputedly selected from the German Baedeker Tourist Guide to Britain, meeting the criterion of having been awarded three stars “for their historical significance”

- Wikipedia

After Nick had posted the last picture above, he received this comment from Stacia Briggs:

“My Mum’s house on Waterloo Road was destroyed by the Baedeker Raid. This looks like it might be her house. This is part of the real life account she wrote for my son for a project on WW2 - spot the similarities.

“”My father was away in the army and my mother and I lived in a small terrace house on Waterloo Road in Norwich, close to Magpie Road.

“One day, my mother and I had left the house to visit relatives. It was a good job we did go out, because that night, Hitler unleashed the Baedeker raids on Norwich and our house was reduced to a pile of smoking rubble.

“Everything we had was in ruins. Because I was only two, to me it just looked like a giant bonfire. I was upset that the toys I had were gone, although I hadn’t really had many, and that my cat was missing. We never saw him again.

“In those days, the fire service was voluntary and they were busy fighting the fires around the city. We heard that the Cathedral had been damaged and my mother quickly realised that we needed to find somewhere to stay. All we had was what we were wearing – nothing else. Everything had been destroyed.

“When my father heard, he blamed the anti-aircraft gunners in Norwich. He said they wouldn’t be able to hit City Hall if they were based at the Guildhall, which is just next door.

“I remember being really upset that my nursery, which was close to my house, had also been completely destroyed. My mother was doing war work and so I had often gone to the nursery and I’d loved it. The bomb site where the nursery had been was still there way into the 1950s – later, they built a swimming pool there – St Augustine’s.

“As far as I know, none of our neighbours were killed, although lots of others were killed in Norwich. We were lucky, although I’m sure my mother didn’t think so because she’d lost absolutely everything.

“Everyone where we lived was in the same pickle. Normally, if the school had still been standing, we’d have all slept there for a few nights until we could find somewhere to stay, but the school was gone. For the next six months, we slept on a relative’s floor because we had nowhere else to go.”

…..

Thank  you to Nick Stone and Stacia Briggs.

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