Remembering the November 1940 air-raids eighty years on
In 1981, seventy-two year old Frank Davies made a record of his family’s life; ‘The Davies Family: As seen through the eyes of Frank Davies of Kings Norton’.
Frank was born in 1908 and at the age of sixteen started working for the Chief Constable’s Office at Birmingham City Police as a Boy Clerk. In 1928, he ‘joined the police force proper’ and became ‘B’ 154 Davies. Having met his wife Audrey at work, they eventually settled down in Kings Norton, Birmingham.
Frank wrote: “In November of 1940 I was at home and watched the terrible bombing of Coventry from our garden. Next day I had orders to pack my War Haversack and be ready to move to Coventry, which about 100 of us did next day. We were put in a church to sleep on the floor, just a mattress and a blanket. No food except what we could find ourselves. It was pretty terrible. Kept finding landmines and unexploded bombs all over the place. Dead bodies to find, funerals of police colleagues to attend. Then to make matters worse, the Germans gave Birmingham a good bombing. We could watch it and dodge a few bombs that came our way as well. No telephones to find out what had happened in Birmingham, and we could do nothing about it in any case. Weeks later back to Birmingham and found things not too bad and we got on with whatever came along. Looking for a land mine one night found it caught up in a tree swinging about 6ft above my head. Again looking for a large bomb which someone saw coming down but it had not exploded. I found it in the chemistry lab at the University behind a large cupboard. It was a real big one and took some moving. Incendiary bombs all over the place.”
The heavy November 1940 German bombings saw three Birmingham and nine Coventry officers killed. The Coventry officers included four special constables, one war reserve and two police messengers aged only sixteen and seventeen years of age.
Frank served for thirty years and retired on 6th April 1958.