Blitz - Drake Circus, Plymouth

Drake Circus during the Blitz, Plymouth

Plymouth is a naval city in the United Kingdom. It is located in Devon, on the border of Cornwall, and was and is the location of the Royal Navy barracks, naval base and dockyard. Despite extensive defences, Plymouth was quite badly damaged in a blitz which, though stretched over a couple of months and only lasting seven nights, destroyed much of Devonport and Plymouth.

At just after 8:30pm the alert was sounded and at 8:39 the attack started. First came a group of Heinkel He 111 bombers flying at between 9,900 and 11,500 feet. Included in the load of bombs that they dropped were 34 delayed action high-explosive ones. The pathfinder force, who should have arrived first and dropped flares to light the target, arrived at 8:41pm, flying at an altitude of 19,000 feet. Their shower of flares was followed by 12,500 incendiaries and other high-explosive bombs.
- Gerald Wasley[1]


Plymouth has roots that date back to the Bronze Age, of the earliest settlement of Mount Batten. This was used as a trading post for the Roman Empire until it was surpassed by the village of Sutton which grew to become Plymouth. Plymouth is perhaps most famous internationally as the place where the American Founding Fathers set off from the Plymouth Hoe, and also as the place that French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte was held whilst in captivity after the Battle of Waterloo.

It was expected that Plymouth would suffer bombing during World War II due to the Naval bases and barracks at Devonport, and in particular the dockyards where they would build ships which aided the Battle of the Atlantic for the British. And on the 20th of March 1941, after a Royal visit by King George VI and his wife, the city suffered its first taste of the Blitz. The same followed the next night, and then quitened down til April 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 28th and 29th.[2]


  1. Wasley, George. Blitz: An Account Of Hitler's Aerial War Over Plymouth In March 1941, And The Events That Followed. Devon Books (1991)

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.