Story that was told to me as a youngster, Gloucester in WW2 (General)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Thursday, September 28, 2017, 14:10 (359 days ago) @ alison2

My immediate thought here is that maybe in this instance they were targeting Gloucester Docks, but I can find no direct reference to that in the little "research" I've just done. Aside of the actual Docks and their warehouses, the neighbouring area of High Orchard included many timber yards and also the heavy engineering works of the Carriage & Wagon works and Fielding and Platt. All would seem to be attractive targets, but the excellent Fielding and Platt website says they were never hit. During WW2 the area would have been a hive of industry and looking much like it did in this 1970s photo of the F&P works.

In fact considering the raids that definitely did take place on the various aircraft factories between Gloucester & Cheltenham, it seems that Gloucester city itself got-off relatively lightly, perhaps because it was a more difficult and smaller target than the likes of Bristol and Cardiff. Officially speaking
"Gloucester suffered little bomb damage during the Second World War, the worst air raid destroying 18 houses and a mission church in the Millbrook Street area in 1941."

Millbrook Street is near Napier Street mentioned by Jim Wyatt, they're only 1/2 mile east of the docks. It was normal practice in WW2 for bombers to navigate following visible landmarks such as railway lines and especially rivers and canals, as these were easily seen in moonlight, I suspect the raids over Gloucester were routed from the Severn estuary and up the river. Even ignoring the fact these raids were at night, the chance of bombs hitting their intended target were fairly slim for both sides during the early years of WW2 before radar guidance was introduced, and even then within 1/2 a mile would been considered very accurate.
Furthermore, the area around Gloucester was very well defended with guns, floodlights etc. Across Britain decoy sites were created using lights and brazier fires, to fool the bombers into thinking they were attacking their intended target, and not some empty countryside a few miles away. One such site was at Longney, down the Severn, which suggests they were indeed approaching Gloucester from the Severn estuary.

This forum thread gives some good insights into the bombing around Gloucester, and includes a newspaper photo of the Millbrook Street bombing.

Some of the raids mentioned in these threads were not large scale "Blitzs" as such, but one or two aircraft on surprise raids, or even "accidental" raids where stragglers returning home from other targets to the west were jettisoning any unused bombs to aid climbing over the hills around Gloster.

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