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15 October 2014
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Saint Cuthberts Mist

by culture_durham

Contributed by 
Location of story: 
Durham City
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
11 May 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Durham Clayport Library on behalf of Rose Hails and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

The sirens sounded across the city. It was a bright moonlight night following a warm summer day in 1943.

A squadron of the Luftwaffe were right on schedule, their target to bomb the Durham Viaduct that carried the main railway lines from the South to the North of England.

This would also destroy the city and its famous Norman Cathedral, which stands high on a peninsula rock above the River Wear.

The Cathedral was founded by the monks of Lindisfarne when they brought the body of Saint Cuthbert south, to escape the savage Viking raiders early 900AD, and in which his shrine still remains.

As the plane approached, out of nowhere came a mist, descending over the City like a ghostly shroud, hiding every building, as if they had disappeared.

They passed over, dropping their bombs on open countryside doing little damage. No one has been able to explain this phenomenon, and it has become known as “Saint Cuthbert’s Mist”.

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Tyneside and Northumberland Category
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