THE official communique was stark in its brevity, but even these few words contained a hint that Southampton would not be bowed by the Blitz.

“Both raids on Southampton on Saturday and Sunday were heavy, but the number of casualties was not as large as might have been expected,’’ said the official message from the authorities on Tuesday, December 3, 1940.

“It is stated that 370 people were known to have been either killed or seriously injured. The people of Southampton had borne the attack very well and plans for repairs are already in operation.’’

Later figures confirmed that 150 people had been killed in the raids, while another 250 had been seriously injured as a result of the attacks.

It was salvage day in stricken Southampton as residents set about taking stock of their homes, personal possessions, place of work and everyday life.

The Daily Echo painted a picture of communities facing up to shocking new realities.

At the same time, people had not lost sight of the fact that there were many others in a far worse position.

“A considerable number have temporarily lost their means of livelihood,’’ said the newspaper .

“Scores of businesses,large and small, and many professional practices have been wiped out.

“But the spirit of stoical optimism with which they face the future is being exemplified by the cheerful way in which they are retrieving what little remains of their homes and businesses.’’

In the streets,over the wreckage of many homes Union Jacks fluttered defiantly, while outside shops notices announced a determination to “see it through’’.

Outside a tobacconist was the slogan “Down, but not out!’’ while on a placard, planted in the debris of what was once a pub,were the words: “You can’t win this way, Adolf!’’

Many of the salvage squads had the help of the people whose belongings they were attempting to retrieve.

Sometimes there were shouts of delight as a treasured possession, which had survived the blast of the bomb or the fury of the fire, was discovered amongst the debris.

Through a special 52-page commemorative book, the Daily Echo recalls the courage, tenacity, and sheer doggedness of Southampton and its people of eight decades ago and the legacy from that time which has shaped the city of today.

The Blitz of Southampton Remembered can be purchased for £2.95 from select shops across the region, ordered for £4, including postal and packaging, online at or by phone on 0800 731 4900.