World War Two efforts documented

THE compelling history of North Somerset’s involvement in World War Two has been documented in a new DVD.

Somerset at War takes a tour around the county, visiting places connected to Somerset’s war effort.

This includes Battery Point in Portishead where guns were placed to protect the ports along the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary, specifically the mouth of the River Avon and Avonmouth Docks.

To protect Bristol from air attacks, a ring of anti-aircraft guns was also set up, including one near Sheepway, between Portishead and Portbury.

The guns were in frequent action and in September 1940, claimed a Heinkel He III aircraft, which crashed in a field between Portbury and Failand. The crew baled out and were taken prisoner.

There was also a balloon squadron based at Sheepway. In February 1941, one of its 12 balloons struck another Heinkel He III, already crippled by gunfire, tearing off one wing and causing it to crash into the mud flats at Portbury Wharf.

Another place visited in the DVD is Wraxall, where the skittle alley of the Battleaxes public house was used as the headquarters of a bomb disposal platoon.

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The DVD also tells the story of a Luftwaffe airman whose body washed ashore at Portishead a month after he was shot down during the Battle of Britain in 1940. He was subsequently buried at a cemetery in Weston.

Somerset at War is available from the film company 1st-Take at or on 01454 321614.