Town remembers lost loved ones on 80th anniversary of Portishead bombing

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 September 2020

Number 17 and 18 in Albert Road after the bombings on September 3, 1940.    Picture: Joan Herbert

Number 17 and 18 in Albert Road after the bombings on September 3, 1940. Picture: Joan Herbert

Joan Herbert

People in Portishead have been reflecting on the Albert Road bombings which killed four people in the town 80 years ago this month.

Bomb-damaged houses in Albert Road, Portishead.     Picture: Edna O’DellBomb-damaged houses in Albert Road, Portishead. Picture: Edna O’Dell

Joan Herbert was seven years old when the bombs fell on her home and damaged more than 10 others in the area during World War Two, which she describes as one of the most frightening experiences of her life.

Joan lived at number 18 in Albert Road with her family, and she and her sister made their way to the air raid shelter at the bottom of their garden when the sirens sounded on September 3, 1940 at just after 10pm.

Joan said: “While we were in the shelter, I remember my mum talking to neighbours at the front gate. I didn’t like her not being in the shelter with us at night, so when I started to get upset about it, my sister ran out to fetch my mum who then joined us.

“Thank goodness she did, because just minutes later the bombs dropped, badly damaging more than 14 houses in Albert Road, including ours, and killing four people, one of whom was the poor chap who had been standing chatting in the street with my mum minutes earlier.”

The four people to lose their lives that night were Charles Dolman, William Hedger, Leslie Tripp and Mable Tripp.

Today, a stone feature can be found in a flower bed, close to where one of the bombs detonated at the southern end of Albert Road, which is now Brampton Way, in memory of those who lost their lives in Portishead.

The memorial includes Miss E Gill of Channel View Crescent, another Portishead civilian casualty who died on April 11, 1941.

Edna O’Dell lived near Joan at number 16 Albert Road when the bombs fell in Portishead.

Edna said: “Just before the bomb fell, my father had been in the road speaking with other neighbours, some sadly lost their lives that night. He was about to come down into the shelter when the blast of the explosion blew him from the steps and into the back of the shelter. He was probably bruised and sore as a result.” Edna said the following morning, the family home was a ‘sorry sight’ and ‘very distressing’ a they surveyed the damage.

She added that everyone affected by the bombing went to the Folk Hall that night, and after the war, 16 Albert Road was refurbished and it ‘once again’ became the family home.

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