South West Wales

Swansea commemorates 70th anniversary of wartime Blitz

Swansea has marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the World War II three-day Blitz which killed 270 people and injured hundreds.

The bombing raids from 19 - 21 February 1941 devastated the centre of Swansea as the Luftwaffe targeted the docks.

Flames could seen as far away as Cornwall as homes, firms and civic buildings were hit by 30,000 incendiary and 800 high-explosive bombs.

A civic service of Remembrance was held at St Mary's Church at 1430 GMT.

Many say Swansea has never recaptured its former status and character since the bombing raids.

More than 850 properties were destroyed and 11,000 damaged, with St Mary's church, the Ben Evans department store and the Victorian market left in ruins.

Swansea Museum last month opened an exhibition, Ugly Lovely Town, using the wartime paintings of artist Will Evans, and wartime memorabilia, to show the blitz's dramatic impact.

It is to hold a series of workshops during half-term week with Swansea Comics Collective to bring the experiences of people who experienced the Blitz to life in comic form.

St Mary's was razed to the ground during the aerial attack and now features two memorial windows depicting the destruction in the town and the ashes of the church.

Image caption The city was struck as the docks became a major target for the German air force

Two books on display are dedicated to those who were killed in the raids.

Sunday's remembrance service at the church was conducted by the Rt Revd John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, and the address was given by Professor Peter Stead.

Swansea lord mayor Councillor Richard Lewis said: "Seventy years ago Swansea was a major target for the aircraft of the Luftwaffe as the Nazis wanted to attack our industry and demoralise the residents of the town.

"But the residents were not beaten and the bombings failed to seal the fate of this city.

"It is vital that the three nights Blitz is remembered by people of all ages in Swansea and beyond, not only for the devastation and loss of life but also for the post-war spirit which saw the town reborn, achieve city status and continue to thrive today."

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