Margaret Cane's letter to her parents
1. Download the PDF version of Margaret Cane’s letter (Front)

2. Download the PDF version of Margaret Cane’s letter (Reverse)

7 Woodstock Road
Bristol 6
25th November


I have tried already today to send you a telegram telling you I am all right but they won’t take them unless urgent.

Yes, the “West town” was us & rather unpleasant it was, too. I was in Church at the “Light in Darkness” service (6-6.45) when the sirens went at about 6.35. During the closing prayer we had “Light in Darkness” outside in the shape of flares. They lit the stained glass windows just like daylight & almost immediately the first bomb fell & the guns started up. We were advised to stay in Church & we settled ourselves in close to an outside wall with no window and near a very strong pillar (near the entrance). Soon the windows were lit with a red glare & we could smell burning. We were next moved into the vestry as being a safer place. There we played games until Mr Loveday came back & said we must go out across the churchyard & into the shelter in the vaults of St. Peter’s Hospital. About 20 of us were left then. After about 1/4 hr (it was about 8.30 by now) once again he came back to say the fire was spreading & very near to us. Car loads were arranged & those of us with bikes were advised to go on them as they had brought them out of the Church for us.
By this time outside it was like a heavy blizzard of red hot chunks blowing all around. I had no hat so I put my head under the tap & splashed water all over my coat & started off with another girl who lived near. We had been told there was only one way we could go, & we passed by numbers of fires even then. At last we reached the end of the fires & then it was only shell fragments raining down by we felt we must just risk them & go on. I’ve never cycled like I did then & the exertion on top of the rather frightening experience rather knocked me up. I was gasping for breath when I arrived but was very kindly treated with sal volatile and various comforts. I spent the night in the shelter but couldn’t sleep at all. I haven’t been to school today because I really didn’t feel fit. I’ve got to go to the Doctor tonight about my inoculation so shall no doubt be advised by her as to what to do tomorrow.

When I left Mr Loveday was waiting with some others for Mrs L. to come back with the car to pick up the second load. I’ve been round to see if they are all right & she couldn’t get back so they decided to walk. The also gave me the worst piece of news which I had feared inevitable – the church & St Peter’s Hospital are among the smouldering heaps of ruins which are everywhere – Park Street, University (a part), theatre, in addition to whole blocks down in the city. 4.15pm. The sirens are sounding – I suppose it’s the reconnaissance come over to inspect the damage. Now the guns are going full blast.

Well, I hope this grim story hasn’t given you too much of a fright. I assure you I shall not be out again in a hurry!

I’ll post this in hopes it will get to you

Lots of love,

Glossary for the transcript of Miss Margaret Cane’s letter