BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014
your place and mine
Your Place & Mine Radio Ulster Website

BBC Homepage
BBC Northern Ireland
greater Belfast
contact ypam
about ypam

print versionprint version

Contact Us

The Belfast Blitz

Few people believed there was much chance of Belfast being bombed. They were very wrong.

Belfast Blitz

writeAdd a new article
contribute your article to the site


Easter Tuesday, 15 April 1941:
180 German bombers fly over the Irish sea
10.40pm :
Sirens sound. Ground crews man anti-aircraft guns. Hurricanes take to the skies to defend Belfast
Hundreds of flares illuminate the night sky
Crowds flock to the safety of shelters + into the hills around Belfast
Incendiaries, high explosive bombs and parachute mines rain down on the city. Full force falls on residential areas north of the city centre: New Lodge, Lower Shankill and Antrim Road
76 landmines drift down attached to parachutes intending to tear apart the concrete and steel factories. Over half fall in residential areas: Vandyk Gardens and Veryan Gardens are decimated - over 130 homes are destroyed
York Street Mill is sliced in two. As it collapses it crushes 42 houses and damages 21 others
Hundreds of terrified residents flee down the Whitewell Road looking for shelter but finding none. 170 are injured, 46 fatally
Two parachute mines fall near Buncrana Road, Derry killing 15 people and leaving 150 homeless
Newtownards Aerodrome is targeted. 10 guards are killed. 14 bombs hit Bangor killing 5 and injuring 35
Bombs continue to fall in Belfast. A shelter in Percy St is hit, killing 30 people
Bomb takes out Central telephone exchange. Belfast loses contact with anti-aircraft operations control
Without the advice of the ops room Belfast's anti-aircraft guns fall silent for fear of hitting "friendly" Hurricanes. Unaware Fighter Command had already withdrawn the Hurricanes
Belfast endures 2 hours of Luftwaffe attacks without fighting back or being defended
140 fires rage through Belfast spreading into conflagrations
John McDermott phones Sir Basil Brooke to ask permission to request fire engines from Eire
De Valera agrees to send fire tenders to North
70 men + 13 fire engines from Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Drogheda and Dundalk speed Northwards
Dawn breaks but fires rage on and the death toll mounts
City morgue is unable to cope. The dead are laid out in Falls Road, Public Baths and St Georges Market
21 April:
The unclaimed bodies are buried in mass graves at the City and Milltown cemeteries
Over 900 people perished under the onslaught of 203 metric tons of bombs and 800 fire bomb canisters
German propagandist, Lord Haw Haw, boasts: "The Fuhrer will give you time to bury your dead before the next attack..Tuesday was only a sample

See timeline for third raid

See the other sections in this article:

Your Responses

Maurice C Anderson - Feb '07
Interesting article! I was a 3 yr old boy living with my young parents, Billy & Annie Anderson, on Dhu Varren Parade in the Woodvale area of North Belfast. I remember getting a big chocolate Easter egg that year, about the size of a soccer ball, with little yellow chicks on top. During the raids, my parents grabbed me and we crushed under the dining room table!
Next morning, after the 'all clear', I found my egg was shattered in tiny pieces! Nearby houses were flattened and the residents killed.
Some weeks later, my dad loaded up a small lorry with our possessions and we moved out to a little gate lodge at the Rathmore Estate in Dunmurry. (we lived there for the next 18 years!) During the war years, the large mansion on the estate was used by 'Shorts' as their 'Drawing Offices' and other buildings were used by the military. In 1946 they all moved out and the mansion became 'Sacred Heart of Mary Convent and St Anne's chapel started nearby. I remember my protestant parents having many a friendly chat over a cup of tea with the local priest, Father McGee... St Anne's High School has taken over the former estate.
Ah, the war a 69 yr old Canadian now living in Toronto, I will never forget those days!

Rachael Newberry - May '06
G ood website very useful.



Use the form below to post comments on this article
Your Comments
Your Name (required)
Your Email (optional)

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy