South Wales At War
During the Second World War, Luftwaffe air raids on Wales killed 984 people and left over 1,200 seriously injured. Over 90% of these casualties were in the south of the country. The reality of war came home to Wales when the first bombs fell on Cardiff in June 1940, and the following January a severe Luftwaffe attack devastated the main shopping area and badly damaged the historic Llandaff Cathedral. Within weeks of that raid, ‘The Three Night Blitz’ on Swansea obliterated the town centre, as over 300 business premises were destroyed and 6,500 people were made homeless. Newport also suffered, particularly in 1941, when sea-mines intended for the shipping lanes of the Bristol Channel instead caused death and destruction in the Monmouthshire town. South Wales also experienced Britain’s worst fire for almost 300 years, when the oil tanks at Pembroke Dock were struck, causing a crippling blow to national resources. This fascinating documentary also includes the story of Island Farm POW Camp, the scene of the biggest breakout by German prisoners in Britain during the entire conflict; how the secrets of a much-feared enemy fighter aircraft were revealed after an example was captured at Pembrey in Carmarthenshire; how a German bomber became the first to be brought down by a barrage balloon, when it crash-landed in Newport; the precious memories of two members of the Home Guard; how boxing legend Rocky Marciano won one of his first fights in a Swansea pub, and much more. With the help of rare archive film, photographs, period music, authentic sound effects and some enthralling eye-witness accounts, this is the story of South Wales at War.
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