The Bristol Blitz November 1940

Bristol local history; vintage film and old photos of Bristol

“Bristol Blitz” from YouTube channel JayBee6011

The Bristol Blitz began on Sunday 24th November 1940. That night, the German Luftwaffe dropped 5,000 incendiary and 10,000 high explosive bombs on the old city.

Old photos and vintage footage shows the shocking devastation that the bombs and incendiary devices wreaked on the city centre.

Short interviews filmed several decades ago records the first hand memories of eyewitnesses to the event.

There was so much damage that you couldn’t even walk through the streets without carefully picking through debris.

On this first raid, 200 people died. A further 700 people were seriously injured.

Bristol Blitz

6 major bombing raids between 24 November 1940 and 11 April 1941

548 air raid alerts and 77 air raids

919 tons of high-explosive bombs & thousands of incendiary (fire) bombs

1,299 Killed

1,303 seriously injured

697 rescued from damaged buildings

89, 080 buildings damaged

81, 830 houses completely destroyed

3,000 + houses damaged beyond repair

Censorship Of Bristol Blitz Reporting

The government carefully censored all forms of media reporting, to boost morale at home and cause uncertainty for enemy tacticians.

Because of censorship, newspapers revealed little of the horror experienced by the people of Bristol that night. The newspaper report shown on screen in this short film is short and brief.

An excerpt of a propaganda newsreel claims the “ruined” ports will carry on as usual. The narrator, Leslie Mitchell, says that the Germans are lying about destroying the Docks. He says people ask why the Germans continue to issue such fantastic claims, and that Hitler tells these lies to put doubt in people’s minds.

But the reality? The images of men busy at work in the docks was filmed before the Bristol Blitz started. The newsreel distributors deliberately used older material so that the location looked untouched by the bombs.

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