John Hornsby writes:
I was six in 1939 and remember every second of the war, particularly the raids on Birmingham. As a lad I remember standing at playtime at Trittiford Road School watching in awe as a thousand Allied bombers came over heading for Germany, forming up from varied airfields as they came over.
We may now not always have the chronology of events right but in general the following may be of interest:
The first big raid over Bham was the 20 hour raid following on Coventry the previous night (where my grandmother was a victim). Our family found the communal underground shelters overcrowded and hot and we took a risk and came out heading for home. As we walked we saw the search lights beaming, shells going up, the bombs falling and the town blazing. It was the flooded Anderson at the bottom of the garden after that!
I met a gentleman recently in Cotteridge Park who was born in the cottages opposite to Francis Road and as a lad remembers a German bomber coming over, circling and the pilot waving or saluting down!! The same plane then dropped his incendiaries which burned down the woodyard in Francis Rd alongside the rail track. He then saw the plane head away towards Bournville and those corner placed guns somewhere in the distance hitting the tail of the plane and it was last seen losing height.
An ex-Bomber Command pilot friend once told me that the German Navigation School in Berlin failed to school their pilots well and he thought this was the reason for them never quite finding and hitting the Austin. That and their fuel was at the limit around Cotteridge where they would turn for home. Many came down on the back trip from Wythall, Oxfordshire and the South Coast. If they had done their turn at Waste Hills it perhaps it may have been a different story.
The 1943 lone plane as mentioned sprayed bullets up the Pershore Road as workers were about to come out of the factory gates below the then Breedon. One day I will succeed in finding the outcome of its flight.