I\’m not entirely convinced by this, you know?
Plans to deploy to the Eastern Front had been delayed for what became known as the Baedeker Raids because Hitler chose his targets from the popular tourist guides. Richard Flohr-Swann, Mr Schludecker’s translator and co-pilot on what he expects to be his final mission to Bath, said: “The rumour in his unit was they were trying to kill Churchill. They thought that was why they had been ordered to bomb the city centre.”
Churchill was rumoured to be staying at the Abbey Hotel in Bath. Although the bombs damaged 19,000 buildings, the hotel was not among them. Mr Schludecker, a pilot with Kampfgeschwader 2, stationed in eastern France, had never heard of Bath before the pre-mission briefing.
19,000 buildings in Bath alone? I\’m afraid I\’m hugely, hugely, unconvinced.
The population of the City now is about 80,000 and given the Georgian architecture of the centre, that part is pretty much all multiple occupancy. I expect (but don\’t know) that the population 65-70 years ago was lower.
I do know where at least some of the bomb damage was: Bear Flat, Queen Square, bottom of the Wells Road, Southgate and where the Tech is now (although at least some of that was caused by the City Council later), top of the High Street and so on, but 19,000 buildings would have been what, a quarter, half, the City?
As I say, hugely, hugely unconvinced.