I'll never forget that terrible night
BERT Hendy had just turned 13 when bombs fell on the Bedminster street where he lived – but more than 70 years on he still remembers the day that changed his life forever.
The former Wills Tobacco employee remembers each and every raid on his home city.
And no night of bombing conjures up more powerful memories than November 24, 1940 – his 13th birthday and the day his best friend was killed.
"My mate Jackie Thomas was only 12 years old when the first raid took place," Mr Hendy, 85, said.
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"It was my birthday, which was on a Sunday that year, and three of us had all gone to church. When night time came they started dropping flares to light up the way for the bombers coming in."
Mr Hendy, of Whitchurch, had become best friends with Jackie after he moved to the same street, Marksbury Road. They spent their schooldays together at Summermead School.
Jackie's family had chosen a house which backed on to the Marksbury Road gas works – a choice which proved to be fatal.
"One of the first hits was on the gas works right behind his house," Mr Hendy said.
"Their back garden backed right on to the gas holders and the water underneath surged up and flooded the area including their air raid shelter."
Jackie and his father Earn were found dead the next day.
The near-miss and shrapnel left the Hendy family home crumbling too.
"After the first raid the damage was so bad you could look right up through the roof and see the stars," Mr Hendy said.
"I remember everything, all through the raids. I have a perfect memory of it all."
After the war Mr Hendy, of Allington Crescent, worked for Wills Tobacco where he met his wife Jean.
It was also through his work that he obtained the copy of a magazine detailing all the bombs that fell on Bristol, which he still has to this day.
It states that there were 889 casualties in Bristol that night and 200 who died.
Among those numbers was his best friend. "I'll never forget it," Mr Hendy said. "I was with Jackie just a few hours before. It was terrible and I don't think I'll ever really get over it."