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16 October 2014
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The Belfast Blitz

Little attention had been paid as a lone Junkers 88 reconnaissance aircraft passed overhead during the match...

Belfast Blitz

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The most unprotected city in the UK - Peter Hughes

Although the war was in it's second year, Easter 1941 had passed peacefully for the Hughes family living in Dunluce Avenue in what was known as "the most unprotected city in the United Kingdom" because Belfast was well ouside the range of the Luftwaffe.

The youngest member was "football daft" and eagerly looking forward to being at Windsor Park on Easter Monday to see the Regional League play the Football League of Ireland. His "easter egg" was complete when the visitors from Dublin got whipped 2-1. The following day another crowd of over twenty thousand turned up at the same venue and few, if any could forecast a greater calamity when the "Lillywhites" stuffed "The Sons" 3-1 but before the day finished some had changed their minds.

Little attention had been paid as a lone Junkers 88 reconnaissance aircraft passed high overhead during the match. Just about the time of the final whistle 200 German bombers consisting of Heinkel 111s, Junkers 88s and Dorniers were leaving bases in Northern France on course for Northern Ireland.

The sirens sounded at 10.40pm and initally the Hughes clan sought refuge under the kitchen table, but within 15 minutes, the youngest, like the Kilkenny cat, was overcome with curiosity and it was outside to see the fireworks. It was akin to watching Linfield play Celtic from the back row in the grandstand!

The raid continued to the early hours and Belfast suffered immensely but the nearest "Jerry" bomb to Dunluce Avenue fell on Sandy Row. A lot of the credit for this was not due to the raiders but probably because we had an air-raid warden who was a right stickler for enforcing the black-out. His nickname was "Darkie" Walsh.


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