Air-raid victims’ memorial, Swansea
Air-raid victims’ memorial, New Cut Road, Swansea
This monument was unveiled in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in Europe and in memory of almost 400 civilian and military personnel who died in air raids on Swansea. Choose a category below to read their details.
The Luftwaffe (German air force) attacked Swansea about 40 times during the Second World War. The most intensive aerial bombing occurred on three successive nights, 19 to 21 February 1941. By the third night the city’s anti-aircraft defences were depleted, and German bombers set many streets alight. Buildings and infrastructure over an area of roughly 0.17 square km (41 acres) were destroyed, including a parish church and Victorian covered market.
Our research identified several people who were omitted from Swansea’s register of civilian deaths despite being non-combatants and officially classed as war dead. The register includes several members of the armed services who were classed as civilian war dead. Some may have been on leave when they died. Also in the register are seven Royal Engineers who died while trying to defuse an unexploded bomb in Castle Street.
The Air Defence Monument, a memorial to those who died in the raids, was conceived in 1993 by the Swansea branch of the Royal Artillery Association. Donations were received from local businesses, members of the public and groups representing the armed services.
The gun at the memorial is a 3.7-inch (94mm) anti-aircraft gun (3.7 inches is the diameter of the inside of the barrel). This type of gun was developed in Britain in the 1930s and helped to defend Britain from aerial attack throughout the Second World War. This example was made in Canada by General Electric, to a design patented in England. It was bought from an arms collector in Ruthin, Denbighshire, and towed to Swansea by a Territorial Army unit. A time capsule was placed in the barrel.
Cast copies of 3.7-inch shells are mounted on each corner of the brick-faced plinth. Plaques on the plinth represent services which helped during the air raids including the Home Guard, fire brigade, British Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance, Salvation Army and Women’s Voluntary Service.
Donations for the memorial's upkeep can be sent to Mr G Bowen, 140 Rodney Street SA1 3UE.
With thanks to Glaslyn Bowen, of the RAA Swansea branch, to Adrian Hughes of the Home Front museum, Llandudno, and West Glamorgan Archive Service