Out of the Blue

The story of Brighton's worst air raid

The book tells the story of Brighton's worst air raid that occurred around 12:30pm on Tuesday 25th May 1943, 77 years ago. This book is a detailed record of each bomb that was dropped, and the stories of those affected. There are around 50 pictures that show some of the damage caused by the eleven tons of bombs dropped by a large number of Focke-Wulf 190's.
The aircraft were led by one of Germany's best pilots, Lt. Leopold Wenger. He led the low level attack on what was described as a very successful raid causing massive damage and the loss of life to 24 people including children.

Lt. Wenger dropped the first 500kg bomb aiming and hitting the Black Rock gas works. His bomb went through the first Gasometer and then blew up a second one causing the loss of 2.7 million cubic feet of gas. Just prior to dropping his bomb he took a photograph with his hand held camera of the gas works. He then took several other photographs as he led the machine-gunning of the streets. A total of 22 500kg bombs were dropped. These bombs have been tracked from the time they left the aircraft until the time they exploded and where they exploded. There is a list of those people killed in the raid.

There are fourteen personal stories of people who, although children, were involved in some way with the various incidents that occurred and can clearly remember the horror of the day. The stories include one from a fourteen year old boy who was trapped in the debris of a shop as it collapsed around him. Another story tells of the luck by another young boy who was sheltering under the front steps of his home when a bomb passed within 6 feet of him as it entered the front of his house. The bomb continued out through the rear bedroom and finally exploded on one of the piers supporting the railway viaduct bringing the 67 feet high structure down. There are also stories of children being machine-gunned in the streets.

"The bombing generally was exceptionally accurate, and in some cases its deadly effectiveness was improved by the way the bombs ricocheted. The three bombs aimed at the Marine Gate flats, the imposing block on the cliff top, were all very close to their marks and caused considerable damage... The streets in the Western Road and Seven Dials area were subject to a sustained machine gun attack, as were those in the Kemp Town area. The deadly bullets strafed almost all the streets in the town centre. After a few minutes, and with their bombs dropped, the aircraft made their way out and back across the Channel. However, it appears that one enemy aircraft stayed a little longer than the others and continued to 'shoot up' the town - a fatal mistake. This plane was shot down about 30 miles south of Brighton, and its pilot was killed."

Out of the Blue
  • ISBN 0-9539392-2-7
  • Price £8.50