Shropshire Star

Book reveals battle-scarred Bridgnorth's wartime story

For Hitler's war machine, Bridgnorth was truly a town on the map.

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Evacuee children arriving at Bridgnorth railway station in September 1939.

And now local historian and author Clive Gwilt has told the story of the town's wartime experience, from the Blitz to the atomic bomb, and from the arrival of evacuees to its role in training hordes of new recruits for the RAF.

Blackout markings painted on the kerb in Salop Street.

Clive has been researching aspects of Bridgnorth's history for over 48 years and written many books, the latest of which is called "Bridgnorth in WWII."

He says that documents found by a British soldier at a deserted Nazi post in Belgium included a map which earmarked Bridgnorth as a place where Hitler hoped to set up camp.

"The astonishing detail of the map made it clear that the regime had some high level strategic purpose for the town. I'm sure some of his generals had hunted in the Apley estate for years before the war and he had wanted Apley Hall as his Midlands base," he said.

"Experts believe that Hitler picked Bridgnorth because it was away from the urbanised West Midlands, was geographically in the middle of England, had an air base nearby at Cosford, and he could use RAF Bridgnorth as a concentration camp. His southern home was going to be Blenheim Palace."

Clive said: "I decided to write the book about 12 months ago when I discovered some German documents the Americans captured after the Second World War. They included maps and flyover photos of Bridgnorth and Ditton Priors.