Fiber-optic cables are made from thin strings of glass and are generally about one-tenth the width of a . In total over 1,300 houses were demolished, some 5,000 badly damaged, nearly 30,000 slightly damaged while 20,000 required "first aid repairs".. Many bodies and body parts could not be identified. Ulster Historical Foundation. Interesting facts about Belfast. Many of those who died as a result of enemy action lived in tightly packed, poorly constructed, terraced housing. They prevented low-flying aircraft from approaching their targets at optimal altitudes and angles of attack. After the first week of September, although night bombing on a large scale continued, the large mass attacks by day, which had proved so costly to the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, were replaced by smaller parties coming over in successive waves. Government ministers in Northern Ireland began to realise the Luftwaffe may launch an attack, but it was too little, too late. In the New Lodge area people had taken refuge in a mill. The most significant loss was a 4.5-acre (1.8ha) factory floor for manufacturing the fuselages of Short Stirling bombers. It remains a high death toll - a shocking number of people killed in just a few weeks. The Belfast Blitzconsisted of four German air raids on strategic targets in the city of Belfastin Northern Ireland, in April and May 1941 during World War II, causing high casualties. The shipyard was among the largest in the world, producing merchant vessels and military shipping. In late August the Germans dropped some bombs, apparently by accident, on civilian areas in London. However, the Docklands was also a densely populated and impoverished area where thousands of working-class Londoners lived in run-down housing. Under the leadership of amon de Valera it had declared its neutrality during the Second World War.  It was MacDermott who sent a telegram to de Valera seeking assistance. The mortuary services had emergency plans to deal with only 200 bodies. Strand Public Elementary school, York Road railway station, the adjacent Midland Hotel on York Road, and Salisbury Avenue tram depot were all hit. Half of the city's housing was damaged over the course of all the raids. In just these few hours, 430 people were killed and 1,600 were badly injured. On September 10, 1940, the school was flattened by a German bomb, and people huddled in the basement were killed or trapped in the rubble. When the house was hit William, Harriette, Dorothy, 36-year-old Dot and 41-year-old Isa were all killed. Just before Easter 1941, Anna and Billy Burdett and their 12-year-old daughter, Dorothy, returned to Belfast from England to visit Anna's family. Brian Barton of Queen's University, Belfast, has written most on this topic.. In addition, there simply was not enough space for everyone who needed shelter in one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. Our editors will review what youve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The town of Dromara saw its population increase from 500 to 2,500. Lecturer of History, Queens University, Belfast, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Belfast_Blitz&oldid=1136721396, During the war years, Belfast shipyards built or converted over 3,000 navy vessels, repaired more than 22,000 others and launched over half a million tons of merchant shipping over 140. Rescue workers search through the rubble of Eglington Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after a German Luftwaffe air raid, 7 May 1941, Anna (left) and her husband Billy (back right) survived while Harriette, Dorothy and Billy were killed along with Dot and Isa, Dot and Isa, with Dorothy when she was a toddler, Royal Welch Fusiliers assist in clearing bomb damage in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 7 May 1941, Mapping the lives lost in the Belfast Blitz. Initially it was thought that the Germans had mistaken this reservoir for the harbour and shipyards, where many ships, including HMS Ark Royal were being repaired. The phrase Business as usual, written in chalk on boarded-up shop windows, exemplified the British determination to keep calm and carry on as best they could. They are sleeping in the same sheugh (ditch), below the same tree or in the same barn. When the Blitz began, the government enforced a blackout in an attempt to make targeting more difficult for German night bombers. By then most of the major fires were under control and the firemen from Clydeside and other British cities were arriving. As more and more people began sleeping on the platforms, however, the government relented and provided bunk beds and bathrooms for the underground communities. The first deliberate raid took place on the night of 7 April. Everything on wheels is being pressed into service. This option had been forbidden by city officials, who feared that once people began sleeping in Underground stations, they would be reluctant to return to the surface and resume daily life. In many cases the daily life of the city was able to resume with delays of only hours. The Belfast blitz. So had Clydeside until recently. Most of the objectives laid out by the reconnaissance crews were of either military or industrial importance. He believed that key targets identified across the city were hit. Between April 7 and May 6 of that year, Luftwaffe bombers unleashed death and destruction on the cities of Belfast, Bangor, Derry/Londonderry and Newtownards. Very early in the German bombing campaign, it became clear that the preparationshowever extensive they seemed to have beenwere inadequate. Video, 00:00:26, Living through the London Blitz. In the subsequent years, this lack of preparation has often dominated the discussion about the Belfast Blitz, but a new project led by Alan Freeburn from the Northern Ireland War Memorial aims to shift the focus back to the ordinary men, women and children who lost their lives. Over 100 German planes made contact with barrage balloon cables during the Blitz, and two-thirds of them crashed or made forced landings on British soil. In every instance, all stepped forward. Where they are going, what they will find to eat when they get there, nobody knows. The danger faced in London was greatly increased when the V2 attacks started and the casualty figures mirrored those of the Blitz.. Other targets included Sheffield, Manchester, Coventry, and Southampton. About 1,000 people were killed during the Belfast Blitz of 1941, with Harland and Wolff among the buildings that were hit by the Luftwaffe. THE BELFAST BLITZ was a series of four air raids over Northern Ireland during the spring of 1941. 1. By then 250 firemen from Clydeside had arrived. St. Giles, Cripplegate, and St. Mary Wolnooth, also in the city, were damaged, while the Dutch church in Austin Friars, dating from the 14th century and covering a larger area than any church in the city of London, St. Pauls alone excepted, was totally destroyed. Hitlers intention had been to break the morale of the British people so they would pressure their government to surrender. With tangled hair, staring eyes, clutching hands, contorted limbs, their grey-green faces covered with dust, they lay, bundled into the coffins, half-shrouded in rugs or blankets, or an occasional sheet, still wearing their dirty, torn twisted garments. A Luftwaffe pilot gave this description "We were in exceptional good humour knowing that we were going for a new target, one of England's last hiding places. At the start of World War Two, Belfast had considered itself safe from an aerial attack, as the city's leaders believed that Belfast was simply too far away for Luftwaffe bombers to reach - assuming that they would have to fly from Nazi Germany. From September 1940 until May 1941, Britain was subjected to sustained enemy bombing campaign, now known as the Blitz. Six Heinkel He 111 bombers, from Kampfgruppe 26, flying at 7,000 feet (2,100m), dropped incendiaries, high explosive and parachute-mines. Read about our approach to external linking. Around 20,000 people were employed on the site with 35,000 further along in the shipyard. The ill-fated ship was built in the city in 1912, and to this day, there is a museum dedicated to its building and the lives of all of those on board. There wasn't enough room for Anna or Billy, so they sheltered elsewhere, a twist of fate that would save their lives. In Newtownards, Bangor, Larne, Carrickfergus, Lisburn and Antrim many thousands of Belfast citizens took refuge either with friends or strangers. Wherever Churchill is hiding his war material we will go Belfast is as worthy a target as Coventry, Birmingham, Bristol or Glasgow." He was replaced by 54-year-old Sir Basil Brooke on 1 May. On the ground, there were only 22 anti-aircraft guns positioned around the city, six light and 16 heavy, and on the first night only seven of these were manned and operational. The Blitz was devastating for the people of London and other cities. Video, 00:01:15The Belfast blitz, Up Next. As of October 2020, the population of Belfast is about 350,000 people. It targeted the docks. He believed that this was being done already but it was inevitable that a certain number of civilian lives should be lost in the course of heavy bombing from the air". However Belfast was not mentioned again by the Nazis. The database Mr Freeburn has compiled is, he believes, the most accurate list of those killed and includes 222 children aged 16 or under. Public buildings destroyed or badly damaged included Belfast City Hall's Banqueting Hall, the Ulster Hospital for Women and Children and Ballymacarrett library, (the last two being located on Templemore Avenue). Other Belfast factories manufactured gun mountings. Several accounts point out that Belfast, standing at the end of the long inlet of Belfast Lough, would be easily located. During what was known as the "Belfast Blitz," 1,000 people were killed by bombs dropped by the Nazis in 1941 during the Second World War. Fortunately, the railway telegraphy link between Belfast and Dublin was still operational. The city has been a leader in women's rights. 13 died, including a soldier killed when an anti-aircraft gun, at the Balmoral show-grounds, misfired. These shelters were vital as these factories had many employees working late at night and early in the morning when Luftwaffe attacks were likely. The 'Blitz' - from the German term Blitzkrieg ('lightning war') - was the sustained campaign of aerial bombing attacks on British towns and cities carried out by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) from September 1940 until May 1941. Belfast has the world's largest dry dock. , Initial German radio broadcasts celebrated the raid. That night almost 300 people, many from the Protestant Shankill area, took refuge in the Clonard Monastery in the Catholic Falls Road. THE BELFAST BLITZ was a series of four air raids over Northern Ireland during the spring of 1941. Belfast suffered a series of bombing raids in the spring of 1941, which became known as the 'Blitz of Belfast'. The bombing of British cities - Swansea, Belfast, Glasgow Before the war broke out, civilians had been issued with gas masks and Anderson shelters, which people were encouraged to build at the. "There are plans for one but there isn't one yet. At 4:15am John MacDermott, the Minister of Public Security, managed to contact Basil Brooke (then Agriculture Minister), seeking permission to seek help from the Irish government. In the first days of the Blitz, a tragic incident in the East End stoked public anger over the governments shelter policy. James Craig, Lord Craigavon, had been Prime Minister of Northern Ireland since its inception in 1921 up until his death in 1940. There [is] ground for thinking that the enemy could not easily reach Belfast in force except during a period of moonlight. It is situated at on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. Over 150 people died in what became known as the 'Fire Blitz'. The raids hurt Britains war production, but they also killed many civilians and left many others homeless. Another claim was that the Catholic population in general and the IRA in particular guided the bombers. In the west and north of the city, streets heavily bombed included Percy Street, York Park, York Crescent, Eglinton Street, Carlisle Street, Ballyclare, Ballycastle and Ballynure Streets off the Oldpark Road; Southport Street, Walton Street, Antrim Road, Annadale Street, Cliftonville Road, Hillman Street, Atlantic Avenue, Hallidays Road, Hughenden Avenue, Sunningdale Park, Shandarragh Park, and Whitewell Road. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Between Black Saturday and December 2, there was no 24-hour period without at least one alertas the alarms came to be calledand generally far more. As the UK was preparing for the conflict, the factories and shipyards of Belfast were gearing up. Video, 00:00:46, Hong Kong skyscraper fire seen on city's skyline, Watch: Matt Hancock message row in 83 seconds. Updates? The famous Harland and Wolff cranes are called Samson and Goliath. The offensive came to be called the Blitz after the German word blitzkrieg (lightning war). This hub of industry and trade represented a legitimate military target for the Germans, and some 25,000 bombs were dropped on the Port of London alone. Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland . Train after train and bus after bus were filled with those next in line. For two hours on the first day, 348 German bombers and 617 fighters blasted London. The South Hallsville School disaster prompted Londoners, especially residents of the East End, to find safer shelters, on their own if necessary. German bombing of London during the Blitz, Discover how the Third Reich attacked Great Britain during World War II's Battle of Britain, atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Watch President Roosevelt outline his Four Freedoms and learn how Britain defeated Germany's Luftwaffe.  Mass graves for the unclaimed bodies were dug in the Milltown and Belfast City Cemeteries. Video, 00:01:09The Spitfire turns 80, The German bombing of Coventry. Fighter Commands efforts were greatly aided by the lack of any consistent plan of action on the part of the Germans. Video, 00:02:12, Isabel Oakeshott: Why I leaked Hancock's messages, Tears of relief after man found in Amazon jungle. These private air-raid shelters were Anderson shelters, constructed of sheets of corrugated galvanised iron covered in earth. This part of Belfast was the only one required to provide air raid shelters for workers. After the passing of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, it became the seat of the government of Northern Ireland. Subs offer. Video, 00:01:23Watch: Matt Hancock message row in 83 seconds, One-minute World News. It is believed that the wartime government covered up the death toll because of concern over the effect it would have had on public morale. Singer-songwriter Van Morrison was born here. ", Mapping the lives lost in the Belfast Blitz. When Germany bombed Belfast as part of the Blitz during World War Two, the massive air raids left more than a thousand people dead. workers. He described some distressing consequences, such as how "in one case the leg and arm of a child had to be amputated before it could be extricated. His reply was: "We here today are in a state of war and we are prepared with the rest of the United Kingdom and Empire to face all the responsibilities that imposes on the Ulster people. to households. At 10:40pm the air raid sirens sounded. When incendiaries were dropped, the city burned as water pressure was too low for effective firefighting. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Since 1:45am all telephones had been cut. In the eight months of attacks, some 43,000 civilians were killed. The most heavily bombed cities outside London were Liverpool and Birmingham. Video, 00:02:12Isabel Oakeshott: Why I leaked Hancock's messages, Tears of relief after man found in Amazon jungle. Around 1am, Luftwaffe bombers flew over the city, concentrating their attack on the Harbour Estate and Queen's Island. , War materials and food were sent by sea from Belfast to Great Britain, some under the protection of the neutral Irish tricolour. , Over 900 people died, 1,500 people were injured, 400 of them seriously. Anna and Billy returned to England and continued running the children's home. After his optician business was destroyed by a bomb, Mickey Davies led an effort to organize the Spitalfield Shelter. 7. He went to the Mater Hospital at 2pm, nine hours after the raid ended, to find the street with a traffic jam of ambulances waiting to admit their casualties. A modern bomb census has attempted to pinpoint the location of every bomb dropped on London during the Blitz, and the visualization of that data makes clear how thoroughly the Luftwaffe saturated the city. The couple, who ran a children's home, stayed with Anna's parents, William and Harriette Denby, and her sisters, Dot and Isa, at Evelyn Gardens, off the Cavehill Road, in the north of the city. Heavy jacks were unavailable. The attacks were authorized by Germanys chancellor, Adolf Hitler, after the British carried out a nighttime air raid on Berlin. More than 500 German planes dropped more than 700 tons of bombs across the city, killing nearly 1,500 people and destroying 11,000 homes. Accounts differ as to when flares were dropped to light up the city. In early 1941 the Germans launched another wave of attacks, this time focusing on ports. Liverpool, for example, protected by 100 guns. All were exhausted. Video, 00:01:37, Thanks, but no big speech, in Ken Bruce's sign off, Tear gas fired at Greece train crash protesters. "Through cross-referencing a number of different sources I have been able to get the most accurate number of people who died in the Blitz," he says. He gave an interview saying: "the people of Belfast are Irish people too". By 1941, production of the Short Stirling Bomber and the Short Sunderland Flying Boat was underway. The raid so infuriated Hitler that he ordered the Luftwaffe to shift its attacks from RAF sites to London and other cities. KS3 History (Environment and society) The Belfast Blitz learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers. There was no smokescreen ability, however there were some barrage balloons positioned strategically for protection. Brides, Fleet St.; St. Lawrence Jewry; St. Magnus the Martyr; St. Mary-at-hill; St. Dunstan in the East; St. Clement [Eastcheap] and St. Jamess, Piccadilly). The nights of November 3 and 28 were the only occasions during this period in which Londons peace was unbroken by siren or bomb. Streets heavily bombed in the city centre included High Street, Ann Street, Callender Street, Chichester Street, Castle Street, Tomb Street, Bridge Street (effectively obliterated), Rosemary Street, Waring Street, North Street, Victoria Street, Donegall Street, York Street, Gloucester Street, and East Bridge Street. The city covers a total area of 132.5 square kilometers (51 square miles). Another large-scale attack followed on March 19, when hundreds of houses and shops, many churches, six hospitals, and other public buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged. Some are a total loss; others are already under repair with little outward sign of the damage sustained: Besides Buckingham palace, the chapel of which was wrecked, and Guildhall (the six-centuries old centre of London civic ceremonies and of great architectural beauty), which was destroyed by fire, Kensington palace (the London home of the earl of Athlone, governor general of Canada, and the birthplace of Queen Mary and Queen Victoria), the banqueting hall of Eltham palace (dating from King Johns time and long a royal residence), Lambeth palace (the archbishop of Canterbury), and Holland house (famous for its 17th century domestic architecture, its political associations, and its art treasures), suffered, the latter severely.  He followed up with his "they are our people" speech, made in Castlebar, County Mayo, on Sunday 20 April 1941 (Quoted in the Dundalk Democrat dated Saturday 26 April 1941): In the past, and probably in the present, too, a number of them did not see eye to eye with us politically, but they are our people we are one and the same people and their sorrows in the present instance are also our sorrows; and I want to say to them that any help we can give to them in the present time we will give to them whole-heartedly, believing that were the circumstances reversed they would also give us their help whole-heartedly Frank Aiken, the Irish Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures was in Boston, Massachusetts at the time. An air raid shelter on Hallidays Road received a direct hit, killing all those in it. No attendant nurse had soothed the last moments of these victims; no gentle reverent hand had closed their eyes or crossed their hands. Since most casualties were caused by falling masonry rather than by blast, they provided effective shelter for those who had them. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. The first (April 7 -8), a small attack, was most likely carried out to test the city's defenses. Video, 00:00:36, Tears of relief after man found in Amazon jungle. The youngest victim was just six-weeks-old. A victory for the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain would indeed have exposed Great Britain to invasion and occupation. He stated that "he would once more tell his government how he felt about the matter and he would ask them to confine the operations to military objectives as far as it was humanly possible. Targets identified included: the Short and Harland Ltd. Aircraft Factory; the Belfast power station and waterworks; Other maps uncovered following the Second World War also showed the parliament and city hall, Belfast gasworks, a rope factory and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. These figures are based on newspaper reports of the time, personal recollections and other primary sources, such as:- Days later a group of East Enders occupied the shelter at the upscale Savoy Hotel, and many others began to take refuge in the citys underground railway, or Tube, stations. The period of the next moon from say the 7th to the 16th of April may well bring our turn.. The first was on the night of 78 April 1941, a small attack which probably took place only to test Belfast's defences. On Nov. 30, 1940, a lone Luftwaffe plane flew across the Ards Peninsula unobserved and reported back to Berlin. Video, 00:02:54, At least 17 dead in Jakarta fuel storage depot fire. "We can still see the physical scars of the Blitz in Belfast, that is what is left. Several theatres and many cinemas were open, and there were even a few sporting events. Belfast Blitz: Marking the lost lives 80 years on. This view was probably influenced by the decision of the IRA Army Council to support Germany. It was solemn, tragic, dignified, but here it was grotesque, repulsive, horrible. Clydeside got its blitz during the period of the last moon. In spite of blackouts, ubiquitous shelters and sandbags, the visible effects of mass evacuation, the presence of A.R.P. The Germans established that Belfast was defended by only seven anti-aircraft batteries, which made it the most poorly defended city in the United Kingdom. On 24 March 1941, John MacDermott, Minister for Security, wrote to Prime Minister John Andrews, expressing his concerns that Belfast was so poorly protected: "Up to now we have escaped attack. In his interview, Becker stated that only military objectives were aimed for. He successfully busied himself with the task of making Northern Ireland a major supplier of food to Britain in her time of need.. However they were not in a position to communicate with the Germans, and information recovered from Germany after the war showed that the planning of the blitz was based entirely on German aerial reconnaissance. Yesterday for once the people of Ireland were united under the shadow of a national blow. . headquarters, Toynbee hall and St. Dunstans; the American, Spanish, Japanese and Peruvian embassies and the buildings of the Times newspaper, the Associated Press of America, and the National City bank of New York; the centre court at Wimbledon, Wembley stadium, the Ring (Blackfriars); Drury Lane, the Queens and the Saville theatres; Rotten row, Lambeth walk, the Burlington arcade and Madame Tussauds. ", Dawson Bates, the Home Affairs Minister, apparently refused to reply to army correspondence and when the Ministry of Home Affairs was informed by imperial defence experts in 1939 that Belfast was regarded as "a very definite German objective", little was done outside providing shelters in the Harbour area.. For more than six months, German planes had flown reconnaissance flights over Belfast. Belfast, Irish Bal Feirste, city, district, and capital of Northern Ireland, on the River Lagan, at its entrance to Belfast Lough (inlet of the sea). Because basements, a logical destination in the event of an air raid, were a relative rarity in Britain, the A.R.P. When a bombing raid was imminent, air-raid sirens were set off to sound a warning. Richard Dawson Bates was the Home Affairs Minister. When war broke out in 1939 the city did not expect to be attacked by German bombers: it was geographically remote and deemed a relatively . The Germans, however, saw Belfast as a legitimate target due to the shipyards in the city that were contributing to Britain's war efforts. The winter of 193940 was severe, but the summer was pleasant, and in their leisure hours Londoners thronged the parks or worked in their gardens. The creeping TikTok bans, Hong Kong skyscraper fire seen on city's skyline. , The third raid on Belfast took place over the evening and morning of 45 May 1941; 150 were killed. Your donations help keep MHN afloat. Over 20 hospitals were hit, among them the London (many times), St. Thomass, St. Bartholomews, and the childrens hospital in Great Ormond st., as well as Chelsea hospital, the home for the aged and invalid soldiers, built by Wren. We were in exceptional good humour knowing that we were going for a new target, one of Englands last hiding places, said one pilot of the raid. The area included the Harland and Wolff Ltd. Shipyard, the Short and Harland Ltd. Aircraft Factory, and the airfield at RAF Sydenham. Tommy Henderson, an Independent Unionist MP in the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, summed up the feeling when he invited the Minister of Home Affairs to Hannahstown and the Falls Road, saying "The Catholics and the Protestants are going up there mixed and they are talking to one another. Belfast made a considerable contribution towards the Allied war effort, producing many naval ships, aircraft and munitions; therefore, the city was deemed a suitable bombing target by the Luftwaffe. Death should be dignified, peaceful; Hitler had made even death grotesque. , Other writers, such as Tony Gray in The Lost Years state that the Germans did follow their radio guidance beams. Their Chain Home early warning radar, the most advanced system in the world, gave Fighter Command adequate notice of where and when to direct their forces, and the Luftwaffe never made a concerted effort to neutralize it. Londoners enjoyed three weeks of uneasy peace until May 1011, the night of a full moon, when the Luftwaffe launched the most intense raid of the Blitz. At 10:40 on the evening of Easter Tuesday 1941 air raid sirens sounded across Belfast, sending people across the city scrambling for safety - in one of the 200 public shelters in the city or the thousands of shelters or other "safe" spaces in private homes. After a brief lull, the Luftwaffe returned in force on February 17. Video, 00:01:38At least 17 dead in Jakarta fuel storage depot fire, Australia's 'biggest drug bust' nets $700m of cocaine. When the war began, Belfast, like many other cities, adopted the wartime practices of rationing and blackouts. Video, 00:03:09Mapping the lives lost in the Belfast Blitz, Belfast City Hall in darkness as the Blitz is marked, Street fighting in Bakhmut but Russia not in control, Russian minister laughed at for Ukraine war claims. The next took. Raids between February and May pounded Plymouth, Portsmouth, Bristol, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Hull in England; Swansea in Wales; Belfast in Northern Ireland; and Clydeside in Scotland. The telegram was sent at 4:35am, asking the Irish Taoiseach, amon de Valera for assistance. The government was blamed by some for inadequate precautions. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. On November 14, 1940, a German force of more than 500 bombers destroyed much of the old city centre and killed more than 550 people. Some 900 people died as a result of the bombing and 1,500 were injured. Video, 00:02:54Living through the London Blitz, At least 17 dead in Jakarta fuel storage depot fire. Apart from those on London, this was the greatest loss of life in any night raid during the Blitz. Contributions poured in from every part of the world in such profusion that on October 28 its scope was extended to cover the whole of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. There [is] ground for thinking that the enemy could not easily reach Belfast in force except during a period of moonlight. During the whole period, although the citys operation was disrupted in ways that were sometimes serious, no essential service was more than temporarily impaired. Belfast was ill-prepared for the blitz. Prior to the "Belfast Blitz" there were only 200 public shelters in the city, although around 4,000 households had built their own private shelters.