+1 vote
in Education ✍ by

The Swansea Blitz was the heavy and sustained bombing of Swansea by the German Luftwaffe from 19 to 21 February 1941. A total of 230 people were killed and 397 were injured. Swansea was selected by the Germans as a legitimate strategic target due to its importance as a port and docks and the oil refinery just beyond, and its destruction was key to Nazi German war efforts as part of their strategic bombing campaign aimed at crippling coal export and demoralising civilians and emergency services.


Reactions of a fireman

“…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)

1 Answer

+1 vote

Much appreciated, SFA. I did not even know the Battle of Britain had extended into Wales. I saw the end credit, seems this historical video was a project of Wales itself.

When I lived on Mt. Baker (1998-2010), there was no cable and your only TV reception was an old-time antenna. And the only station was from Vancouver, B.C. but it was a good station, public TV. I was surprised there was always a great remembrance of WWI; much more than the USA. My friend Winifred, a few years older than me, was one of the Canadians with a summer home on Mt. Baker; but she grew up in London, and even all those years later had memories of the Blitz and post-traumatic stress reactions at loud noises.


In WW2 history the Blitz on Swansea tends to get overlooked.

I was inspired to post this because someone in another place posted about Scottish contributions to WW2 that are often overlooked too.

In due course I’ll be posting about Welsh regiments contributions to WW1.


Well I would say this is a fine use of your fire lockdown

Do you think Wales has had an impact in the world disproportionate to its size? Thinking of Australia...renowned for its heroism in WWI, and my friend who I introduced to you, he was descended from Wales, and his father fought in WWI...I am wondering perhaps many Australians may be Welsh extraction?


New South Wales....got it’s name for a reason. You have me thinking...watch this space.


The poem by Waldo Williams that goes with the song and it’s ropey translation!

Y Tangnefeddwyr 
Uwch yr eira, wybren ros,
Lle mae Abertawe'n fflam.
Cerddaf adref yn y nos,
Af dan gofio 'nhad a 'mam.
Gwyn eu byd tu hwnt i glyw,
Tangnefeddwyr, plant i Dduw.
Ni châi enllib, ni châi llaid
Roddi troed o fewn i'w tre.
Chwiliai 'mam am air o blaid
Pechaduriaid mwya'r lle.
Gwyn eu byd tu hwnt i glyw,
Tangnefeddwyr, plant i Dduw.
Angel y cartrefi tlawd
Roes i 'nhad y deuberl drud:
Cennad dyn yw bod yn frawd,
Golud Duw yw'r anwel fyd.
Gwyn eu byd tu hwnt i glyw.
Tangnefeddwyr, plant i Dduw.
Cenedl dda a chenedl ddrwg -
Dysgent hwy mai rhith yw hyn,
Ond goleuni Crist a ddwg
Ryddid i bob dyn a'i myn.
Gwyn eu byd, daw dydd a'u clyw,
Dangnefeddwyr, plant i Dduw.
Pa beth heno, eu hystâd,
Heno pan fo'r byd yn fflam?
Mae Gwirionedd gyda 'nhad
Mae Maddeuant gyda 'mam.
Gwyn ei byd yr oes a'u clyw,
Dangnefeddwyr, plant i Dduw. 
The Peacemakers
Rose-red sky above the snow
Where bombed Swansea is alight,
Full of my father and mother I go,
I walk home in the night.
They are blest beyond hearing,
Peacemakers, children of God.
Neither, within their home, abuse
Nor slander could be found.
Mam would look for an excuse
For the biggest scoundrels round.
They are blessed beyond hearing,
Peacemakers, children of God.
It was the angel of poor homes
Gave my father two rich pearls:
Brotherhood the mission of man
God's largesse the invisible world.
They are blessed beyond hearing,
Peacemakers, children of God.
Nation good or nation bad
(So they taught) is fantasy.
In Christ's light is freedom had
For any man that would be free.
Blest, the day dawns that will hear them,
Peacemakers, children of God.
What is their estate tonight,
Tonight, with the world ablaze?
Truth is with my father yet,
Mother with forgiveness stays.
The age will be blest that hears them,
Peacemakers, children of God. 

I could not write below the poem, SirFurry, but it is so beautiful...