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A Second World War Luftwaffe pilot who last saw the city of Bath from the cockpit of a Dornier bomber is to return for the first time in 66 years next month to apologise.

Willi Schludecker, now 87, took part in three raids on the city that killed 400 and destroyed scores of Georgian buildings in April 1942.

The damage done by those bombing raids (it was a legitimate target though: much of the Admiralty was based there during the war) was as nothing to that done by the City Council in the years after it.

One of the bombs actually fell about 100 yards from the parentals (now) house. Got redeveloped at The Bear pub after the war….just gone bust as a result of the smoking ban too.

Another snippet: a bomb or two fell on the south side of Queen Square, destroying the Gerogian terrace there. Rebuilt after the war though (as the Francis Hotel), to complete the square again. You can still see the shrapnel damage on the other side of the square though.

It has been known for German exchage students to have this all pointed out to them.

8 thoughts on “Home News”

  1. I don’t suppose too many people will miss The Bear, not a patch on the Pulteney Arms

    Tim adds: Or, indeed, The Old Green Tree.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    I used to think the English were pretty f**ked up. I mean, paying some tart to flog your arse until you “completed your bombing mission”? Where’s the sense in that?

    But clearly the Germans are even more screwed up. What is the purpose of this precisely? Surely the old bastard just wants to feel miserable and guilty? It takes all sorts I suppose. I don’t see why Bath ought to be the venue for this display of masochism though. Are they being paid? Tell the dirty old bugger to piss off.

    Sh!t happened. People died on both sides. Move on people, nothing to see here.

  3. “Surely the old bastard just wants to feel miserable and guilty? It takes all sorts I suppose.”

    My father-in-law was a bomber pilot, and he feels guilty about the people he almost certainly killed. Aren’t these people entitled to say sorry, if they feel guilty and are sorry?

  4. My father had some regrets about the Germans he killed – just boys called up to do their duty for their country, he suspected. He changed his mind, albeit temporarily, when he saw Belsen.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Kay Tie – “My father-in-law was a bomber pilot, and he feels guilty about the people he almost certainly killed. Aren’t these people entitled to say sorry, if they feel guilty and are sorry?”

    Frankly no. There is a world of difference between seeking redemption on the one hand, and parading your conscience around in a pathetic effort at publicity seeking on the other. What exactly has this pilot got to be sorry for? He did his duty. He probably killed people. I suggest talking to a priest. What connection does that have with modern Hull? At the time most of the present day’s inhabitants’ ancestors probably lived in Bangladesh.

  6. Tim, you surely know the story about the Baedeker raids? Bath wasn’t really targeted because it was a legitimate military target, but because it was a tourist attraction. To quote from that (ever so reliable, honest) source Wikipedia:

    Baron Gustav Braun von Sturm, a German propagandist is reported to have said on 24 April 1942 following the first attack, “We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker Guide.”

    Bath was targeted along with Exeter, Norwich, York and later Canterbury in revenge for the incendiary carpet-bombing of Rostock and Lübeck.

  7. The Pulteney Arms is a good pub but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Lamb and Lion. They kept the best Bass in Bath, at least on the occasions when my father and I visited on one of our pub crawls.

    Any pub closure is a tragedy, worthy of a John Donne-esque elegy.

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