Air Raid on the Great Western Railway sidings Near Maesglas Housing estate. Circa 1940. The sidings had among the many vans landing among them a loaded van of none other than Whiskey. This went up in flames and smoke. The area depicted in this scene is the old road to the docks. The Bridge over Main Railway lines to Cardiff and West Wales Countless men and machines went over this bridge in 1939. Marched on their way to the ships before embarking for France. You can see the also some of the smoke screen contraptions that put up a acrid screen of oil burnt smoke when the docks were expected to be under expected attack.
Local people may remember this changed area. Now very much changed as the road to Comet and the various new trading buildings. Recently the author returned to walk this area through Maesglas past the Muffler club and on to the old road. The bridge is now in a rusty condition. And soon I fear will be dismantled along with the ghost of past footsteps of generations who once trod this way. Remain only a scene captured in a paint but no footsteps of the past heard. Also during this raid the house three doors away from Author had a direct hit with an incendiary bomb. Mrs Davies was rescued from the burning house and the fire extinguished.
Direct hit on house at 110 Maesglas Avenue Newport Mon. Mrs Davies. Depicted in painting was rescued from the flames. Brought out from the house by volunteer local Men in the A.R.P. Many Men from the Maesglas Area trained to become fire fighters and rescue workers in those war time years. This night in Question of the attack on what was a residential area. Maesglas=”[Greenfield]”Nick Name “MOSCOW” for its left views of red flag flying high. The incendiary bombs were scattered over a this area of the estate. Though we were just children at the age of thirteen and fourteen. In an eagerness to take part and be considered an help – Would accompany the neighbour on duty patrol of fire watching in the area.
The night in Question of the incendiary attack.The men of the A.R.P. had done a good and effective job at containment of the bright burning incendiaries by swiftly dab a bag of sand on the offending bright light that would know doubt be a possible guiding light for the droning aircraft above. Possibly we were more of an hindrance in our innocence of youth and inquisitiveness to see the bombs burning brightly when one lifted a sandbag. This inquisitiveness not only took the young Often elder people would flock to observe bomb damaged buildings and would go out watching the planes caught in the searchlight and the shell bursts and shrapnel flying and whining every where.
This attack by the German Luftwaffe was their part in effort to demoralise the British spirit before the final attack of the German forces on this Country. Far from it even though short of food and night attacks with lack of sleep. One often would hear of some town in the country having a harder time. We were so cemented together in our unity of the defeat of our then foe. A nation of British we stood together.
The Pre 1939 war years and the innocence and excitement of the Roaring Thirties. A Sunday Morning Working Men at their leisure A game of Pitch and Toss was Played what was then a Quiet spot on the Old Road Maesglas. Near the now Giant store of the big “W”. The authors Father had his allotment garden near by.On the ground that is built on now with the big steel gas Holder. This area has nostalgic memories for the author. And as a young lad had a little task on pay day if his father was on two till ten shift. He would wait by the bridge for father to drop down to him a little tin box containing his wages inside a bright new white fiver. Mog had instructions to go straight home hold in his hand and not stop and talk to strangers. Much later during the war the noise of the enemy aircraft, and all the other guns firing. On the now comet store site. The big old navel gun stood on what was an ash tip. Mounted for anti aircraft work. It soon became well known as it shook the whole area when the gun crew fired the thing. The monster green painted gun barrel stood out from its circle of sand bagged, position ever pointing at the sky, Standing out for there was a slight rise to its position, and was not far from where the father of Mog had his allotment garden. Sometimes it fired when his Dad was working on the garden And he often joked that there was not any need to dig the leeks out of the ground. The vibration of the old gun shook them out. When the bloody gun fired.
The area each side of this old road. Many family men had pig sty’s chicken coups and nanny goats you name it they had it in their allotments or yards. One prominent landmark garden shed was a big lifeboat upended and stood for many years. But alas with the new development of this area it stands no more. A void of space as if it never was. Many of us youngsters would watch the tosses of coins throw into to the air. Only a chink of penny coins could be heard in the deadly silence of the wait of fall to ground. Men of the bet heads a tanner. A penny coin could buy a lot in those days. Four pennies would buy a pint of beer. Tuppence bought a five-woodbine packet of Cigarettes. A Three penneth of liver. And plant an extra row of spuds for the next kid about to be born. If the misses was up the stick, or with child as a friendlier saying. no on the pill then . you has yor fun and work to keep the kids great simple life. with the washing day Monday blues bubble and squeak! fry up. and down wind flavour of cabbage aroma.
Simple Day trip to light house seaside or mudside. Before the war years and also during the 1939-45 and for some time after the war local people enjoyed the Walk or bike ride to the Lighthouse St Brides. Or even catch a bus if one had the spare cash. Today it would be considered pretty tame to Cycle down to the lighthouse. We the young enjoyed the camping with a sack tent and a bottle of water. A tin of corn dog (BEEF) and the tent made from sugar sacks from the market Grocer Sewn together with string. You could even buy a cup of tea and little shop sold a stick of rock.
Paddle in the mud and come out with what looked like socks but were mud up to the knees Happy days. One could also play a game of putting in the enclosed well-kept green. With its red bricked wall enclosing the green. A white little hut and a very tall gentleman in black suit and a ratting hat. dished out the putting sticks for those interested to part with a few pennies to play the game. All the remains of this green is a few remaining bits of wall sadly only a memory of those times past. Also on the fore shore a bricked small-enclosed swimming pool which filled up on the tide changes and great fun it was to splash about in.
Much Later in the 1965 years I myself progress to seek permission for a launch site for my ski boat from the light house shore. Satisfaction came and Eventually I did water ski after the effort and help from many good friends Keith Richards, Rodger Jenkins and his dad. Rodger Later became world power boat racing Champion. and raced all over the world. My son Roy, Martin and Eric and many more helped to build the concrete launch Ramp. Cementing the steps of the River boards built ramp. Mr Williams the farmer was also a friend of Pat Cullimore. Pats father I worked for, as a boy in the early forties war years at Tredegar estate and house. Mr Williams grazed the land with his herd of black cows.
Gave myself permission to use his gateway. A bottle of whisky gift being in order. For some time we enjoyed the sport and many folks from the caravan park joined in and enjoyed our lovely summer evening frolic in water sport Our steel winch stanchion is all that remains on the top of our ramp of memories. I have fond memories of this whole area where my thoughts now are of war years when gun sites with neat sand bagged bunkers and bristling guns and new radar technology Primitive wire mesh on stakes of angle iron spread over these fields.
Many huts filled with soldiers and ATS girls. With fields with rocket guns and later Camps of American soldiers. Soon to court the many beautiful girls and stroll the lanes of life. Many American soldiers destined for the beaches of Normandy. Those who survived the slaughter they too may remember the little Dance hall near the turn off and also that ever-memorable walk along the flood bank as the sun slowly sets. As it now sets on the ghost of the time and all of those who walked this way in times past. Lads who never came back. among the many.