1.12 Freedom from Attack - October 1942 to February 1944

Bristol was completely free from attack during 1943, although other southern ports such as London, Plymouth, Swansea, Southampton, Cardiff and Portsmouth suffered at the hands of the Luftwaffe.

1.12.1 Night Reconnaissance

By the beginning of the year, due to the strength of the British defences, it became almost impossible for the Luftwaffe to fly daylight reconnaissance missions over much of Southern England and a switch was therefore made to night sorties. When engaged in this work the aircraft carried photographic flash bombs and the base plates of two such spent devices were recovered for the first time locally at 23.00 hrs at Long Ashton on the night of January 23rd when a single aircraft operated over the Exeter, South Wales and Bristol area.

1.12.2 Cardiff Raid 17/5/43

Although Bristol was not targeted during 1943, Cardiff was attacked and in preparation for this on the afternoon of May 13th two Bf 109F-5's of 3(F)/123 undertook a pre-raid mission to South Wales, their drop tanks falling at Yatton at 13.00 hrs, on what was one of the last daylight reconnaissance operations carried out locally.

The Cardiff raid in fact took place on the night of May 17th and during the course of this a few stray bombs fell at Aust and Unteroffizier Joachim Tröger of 3/KG 2 was rescued from the sea off Clevedon, his Do 217 having crashed into Woodspring Bay following a mid-air collision. This operation was, not surprisingly, followed by post-raid photographic sorties, and between 01.44 and 01.49 hrs on the morning of May 31st eight photo flash bombs fell south of Bristol, one of which, having failed to ignite, was recovered unburnt at Winford.