A first-hand account from an English PoW in Dresden when the Allies firebombed the city. Unbelievably horrific. I cannot imagine living with the things that he saw and experienced at that time. Worthwhile for remembering that the Allies committed a significant share of the atrocities in the Second World War.

Dates 13 June 2013 – 13 June 2013
Time spent reading 30 minutes
Highlights 11
Comments 3
Used app Readmill

The people of Dresden thought that as long as the Luftwaffe kept away from Oxford in England then, in return, Dresden would not be bombed.

Most of this wreckage landed on top of the cellars which the inhabitants were using as shelters. The blazing rubble trapped them in man-made ovens where they slowly roasted to death.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran


Although the authorities had built huge concrete water containers at points throughout the city only a few of these had been filled with water. But the few that had been filled were later to prove tragic. People climbed into them to escape and found it impossible to climb back out of the smooth faced concrete. They were trapped in water which slowly boiled.

Raining down with this terror came the blockbusters, thin walled ten ton missiles that demolished whole blocks of buildings in one explosion.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

This is the origin of the word ‘blockbuster’. Had no idea it was so literal and sinister.

A small group that had made it almost to the edge of the field tried to reach us, attempting to cross what once been a roadway, only to get themselves stuck in a bubbling mass of molten tar. One by one these unfortunates sank to the ground through sheer exhaustion and then died in a pyre of smoke and flame.

Inside we found the victims, in most cases the bodies were shriveled up to half their normal size or worse. Children under the age of three or four were impossible to identify at all, these tender human beings just melted in the heat of the oven they were sitting in.

It took an hour to get them to the surface but we all felt like heroes, there were no enemies, no hatred, just this sense of utter fulfillment that the rescue of these people had been down to us, that’s how I felt and I am certain that every one of us had the same reaction.

There were no real complete bodies, only bones and scorched articles of clothing matted together on the floor and stuck together by a sort of jelly substance. There was no flesh visible, what had once been a congregation of people sheltering from the horror above them was now a glutinous mass of solidified fat and bones swimming around, inches thick, on the floor.

I am now back in the present, I am ninety-three years old and have lived with this part of my life for a month, trying to remember and write about it. As I delve into my memory flashes come and go, I wake up in the middle of the night remembering sometimes disjointed phases of the experiences I went through.

The only reason for keeping this atrocity in the public eye is to horrify people so much that they never again allow their representatives to order such crimes. There is no excuse for the men who ordered this terrible event to be carried out. From the moment they bombed Hamburg they collected plenty of evidence as to what would happen to the civilians who were to bear the brunt of the raids.

But, it is my belief that in the act of destroying the evil of the Third Reich we employed further and more terrible evils, although I know that not everybody agrees with me. As a nation I feel that the British people still have to face up to the satanic acts that were committed in their name.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

You never really hear too much about the firebombing of the cities on Germany.