Florence Dowdle

Florence Dowdle 1
Florence Dowdle 1
Florence remembers some of the shops in Barton and Tredworth
Florence Dowdle 2
Florence Dowdle 2
Here Florence remembers her excitement when she spotted oranges for sale in a local shop
Florence Dowdle 3
Florence Dowdle 3
Florence remembers her father making her use a milk container as a pouch for her gas mask
Florence and her husband Des

Florence Dowdle was brought up in Barton and Tredworth during the Second World War. She lived in Napier Street for much of her childhood, and has clear memories of the day a German bomb fell on Gloucester – it fell on the houses opposite her home in Napier Street on the morning of the 2nd of January 1941. At this time, Florence had not long been out of hospital after suffering from scarlet fever – what a way to be welcomed home.

In this selection of audio clips and a digital story, Florence recalls some of her memories of wartime in Barton and Tredworth, the shops, rationing and also how the bombing of Napier Street affected the local people living in the area.

Click here for the digital story.

Interview by Mag Medynska, edited by Tom Charnock

Comments about this page

  • I am currently researching my family history and am fascinated by the information I have gleaned from your excellent web-site. In particular, I have gained so much from the recollections of Florence Dowdle who lived in Napier Street. My mother’s family lived at 49 Napier Street – opposite Florence – and it was one of the houses bombed on that fateful morning. The events as related to me by my mother, now sadly deceased, were as follows. My grandfather, Charles Withers, and his son, Harold Withers, were not in the house at the time, but my mother, Vera Withers and grandmother, Amelia Withers, were still at home. My grandmother was killed and my mother was buried under the rubble for some time before one of the rescuers spotted my mother’s hand amongst the debris.  The house, along with a few neighbouring ones, was demolished, and my mother’s engagement ring was missing, never to be found. My grandmother’s name is on the war memorial as a ‘civilian casualty’. As the family were now homeless, my grandfather moved in with his sisters-in-law in Tredworth Road while my mother and her brother moved in with Mr & Mrs Stephens – the parents of my uncle’s girlfriend - at 120 Coney Hill Road.  My mother and father were married at Upton St. Leonard’s church in March 1941 and my mother continued to live with Mr & Mrs Stephens until my father was de-mobbed after the war. I am interested to know if there is any archive footage availabe in the local papers either at the time of the bombing or on the occasion of a particular anniversary of the event.

    By Colin Little (11/08/2015)

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