(Above) Southeast Bristol, 1942. Temple Meads station can be seen in the top left corner; the River Avon runs down the right-hand side. Red spots indicate bomb sites. © National Archives
Bristol was a target for German bombs in World War Two because of its importance as a port and manufacturing centre. The city was hit worst during November 1940 - the Lord Mayor, Alderman Thomas Underwood, later put it: “The City of Churches had in one night become the city of ruins.”
Brislington lies to the southeast of central Bristol. © National Archives
Bombers sometimes dropped loads on outlying areas of Bristol by mistake or on their way somewhere, for instance Filton aeroplane factory in South Gloucestershire was a prominent target lying just to the north. Bedminster and Knowle were two regions of Bristol that suffered disproportionate destruction due to their unlucky position under the flight path to targets.
The bomb census maps here appear to show one such incident. Brislington, which lies to the southeast of Temple Meads, had no significant reason to be targeted. However, on the nights of April 25/26 and August 4/5 1942, these maps show that a whole series of bombs landed on the surrounds. Broom Hill, which shouldered several hits according to the above map, is now a built-up area.
The April attack is surmised to have occurred when German bombers misidentified their targets of a gas works and a railway goods yard. During a second sortie that night, the mainline between London and Bristol was in fact taken out by bombs.
(Below) You can see that houses in Langton Road and Salisbury Road, now part of the area known as Broom Hill, took direct hits in the April raid. © National Archives
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