"It is in our family memory that in the week
Before The Blitz Hitler had made a Statement on The
Radio that He would Bomb Belfast etc . Our mother Believed
Hitler and directly Got The suitcase Packed it and with
all of Us five childer got on the 110 Bus from Smithfield
till Duffs Corner Ardboe Tyrone . Heading for her fathers
Thatched Cottage on The Western Shores of Lough Neagh,
we were lifted by Matt Naill in his Black Car at Drumany
Corner and thence till our Kilkay Home.
We were welcomed by My Grandfather and Uncle Barney
most warmly. I do remember So. We stayed In evacuation
till March Year 1945. Returning on a very frosty day,
so cold I believe that there has not been as cold a
day Since. My maternal Grandfather had ten and a half
acres of land and two acres of wild shore to the water
edge. Our Elders fished some on this great lake to supplement
food and the small farm income. We were most happy there
and on the way to Mullanhoe School we saw The American
Soldiers on the Cluntoe Airfield. The British War Department
had previously seized my Fathers 18 Acres of Land and
Homestead along with some 35 other Family Farms and
Homesteads. All razed and hedges and all. They used
our collective families stone walls as foundation for
the runways for the airplanes.
Daddy stayed in Belfast delivering food etc to
small corner shops. He worked for a one horse firm.
He visited us at The week ends by same bus. Our house
was in the Half Bap Enclave. Edward Street, which was
bombed all around but not directly. The germans killed
my Father's horse and fatally wounded a black mare.
A policeman had to shoot her in the head, dead . Three
other horses got loose and there were many horses running
free for several days thereafter in Belfast. They were
stabled behind hector street what was blasted. Later,
in the year 1951 we moved to the Newington Area. I own
The old Homestead and The land. We are all growed up
and scattered all over." -
Brian F. Hannon
"I was born in Limerick in July 1939. In 1941
I was staying with my granny in Trim in Co. Meath, I
wasn't yet two years old.
One evening I heard a very loud droning noise outside
the house. I asked granny what that was. "Oh!"
she said "That's the German bombers going to bomb
Belfast. They have already bombed Dublin. Come on. I'll
So we went outside onto the street. She pointed
to a dark cloud in the sky, which was in the direction
from which the noise was coming. "The noise is
going to get louder and the sky darker" she said.
And sure enough it did. When the noise was at its
greatest, the cloud was over our heads. The pale blue
sky was clear but for this dark patch.
As I gazed upwards I noticed that the cloud was
made up of many, many tiny black crosses. They were
very far up and I would now describe them as being the
shape of the little metal crosses that used to hold
the wick in the sanctuary lap burning in the church.
I can still feel that sense of fear that I had
but realise that granny seemed full of confidence that
we would not be bombed. This was a lady who abhorred
war because her own husband, my grandfather, was killed
in the Dardanelles in the Great War, as a British soldier.
" - Gerry Kingston
"I was eleven years old when the Blitz arrived
on Belfast. Living in the outskirts of the city, we
were spared the terrors of actually being bombed-out
and in any case my parents naturally sheltered me from
the real horrors. Reading this report brings home to
me the real-life terror that I was spared - though it
was terrifying still, hearing and feeling the bombing
and gunfire, it seemed to us that this war was someone
else's. By the time I was allowed into the city, things
had been fairly well cleared up - only the 'Bomb-Sites'
leaving their calling card." - Gerry Hanna
"My dad was a wee boy (b. 1939) when this
happened. My granddad was the bomb shelter warden (Jerry
Donovan) up the Antrim Road. They had been living in
Cranburn St. That house was bombed and Granny got another
and was just getting ready to move in when that one
was bombed. They used to bring in a mattress to the
shelter for my uncle Paul who was an invalid. There
was my granddad, my granny, uncle Paul, Aunt Alice,
Aunt Chrissie, my daddy and granny was pregnant with
Aunt Josephine. The night before the shelter got bombed,
my granny's relatives came down from the country and
took the family back with them. The next night the shelter
was destroyed and everyone killed. I managed to get
a photo book called "Bombs over Belfast" and
they had a picture of the bomb shelter. So much destruction.
My aunts have told me stories about it. I'll have to
put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and get them
down for posterity. They remember the events very vividly.
There's also a book, Post 182, I believe that goes on
about it and they refer (not by name) to my granddad."
- Mary Kathleen Donovan Springowski
"As a small boy, I remember sitting on my
Mothers knee in the airaid shelter, situated in Tower
St., just off Beechfield St., on the night the "Mines"
came down, we were VERY lucky, as the other part of
Tower & Westbourne Streets & Templemore Ave.,
were devastated, with MANY families killed in THEIR
airaid shelters, there was "burlap" curtains
for doors, which blew in, & of course everyone started
to panic & cry, scream etc., my uncle "Herbie",
who was a Volinteer Firefighter, was up in the "atic"
sleeping, & slept through the raid, I think he must
have been so exhausted, he "DIDN'T EVEN HEAR THE
WHOLE RAID, of course he was awakened afterwards, &
he went to "work" immediately, I remember
"MY" uncle Herbie with pride, he looked so
"Brialliant" in his Firefighters Uniform,
those three Streets were later termed "The wreckage"
by all the local kids for many years later, they then
built a water tank, between Tower St., & Westbourne
Street, we kids used to "Swim" in it, untill
we got caught, and recieved a thorough "Spanking"."
- James (Jim) Robinson (Toman family)
was working at the Victoria Yard during this period.
I was a rivet heater or 'heater boy' as we were called
then. I was fifteen years old and can recall the devastation
the Air raids caused to the Shipyard and Aircraft Factory
and the incendiary bombs landing in the street and our
back yard and downtown Belfast on fire. I remember how
well we all survived those difficult times and how my
Mother worked in a factory and kept our home a happy
place while my Father was in the Army."
"My mother took me and my brother Ken to the
Zoo the day of the Easter raid. I remember the keepers
arranging to destroy the big cats in case they were released
by bomb damage. On the way home from Hazelwood, watched
a single bomber flying up the lough towards H & W
and dropping mines in daylight."
"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.
- Peter Hughes
Read Peter's full story...
sat underneath the stairs while the bombs exploded
all around us. Mother, my sister Audrey 8, I was
13. Father was a R.U.C. constable on duty
in the York Street area. THE EARTH SHOOK.
- Irvine Jones
could hear the roof shaking... Then there was
quietness and we could hear the all-clear."
- William McCready
thought of Madrid and how the Spanish people had
neither defences nor the sympathy of the outside
world. Well now it was our turn!"
- Moya Woodside
were no landmarks on the way up; we reached our
destination by following the telephone lines."
- Southern Fireman
the top of Duncairn Gardens there had been a direct
hit on a shelter. As we passed the dead and injured
were being brought out."
- Nellie Bell
don't think any of us noticed the dawn, for in
a sense it had never been night."
- Joseph Tomelty
was not normal fire-fighting. You had to fight the fires
from the street. They were burning so intensely it was
impossible to get access to buildings."
- Jimmy Mackey, Fireman
was aged just four and a half at the time of the first
air raid on Belfast, I then lived with my family at
No 11 Whitewell Drive, just off the Whitewell Rd at
Greencastle and that our house was badly damaged. Of
course my memories are those of a tiny tot and are sketchy
to say the least. I recall that a block of shops with
flats on top was totally destroyed, along with the people
in them on the Serpentine Rd. I also recall that a B17
bomber ploughed into the Cave hill and exploded in thick
fog with the loss of all the air crew. The Belfast Telegraph
ran a photo of an infant, still in it's cot, hanging
out of what was left of a first floor bedroom somewhere
in Belfast. Some years later in Brisbane Australia my
late elder brother Jim asked me did I recall who the
child was and straight away I said 'Hugh Dockerty' [not
sure of the spelling]. During the blitz my family was
evacuated to the once stately home of a Miss Bryson
on the Doak Rd near Ballymena, I have fond memories
! of that period in the country side. After the War
we moved to No 11 Oregon St which is just off the Crumlin
Rd, I attended Edenderry Intermediate Secondery School
before migrating with my family to Brisbane on the old
P&O liner Mooltam in 1951.
I have been told that 13 relations of my mother's
family Mrs Annie Glover (nee Collins) were killed in
one of these raids on Belfast. I was evacuated to Mahee
island in 1941 and watched a raid from there as the
German bombers flew overhead towards Scrabo Tower ann
onto Belfast. It is a pity there does not appear to
be an honorary list of those killed in these raids.
Seeing so many records have been lost in Ireland over
the centenary's it would be a great help to those who
are trying to find their roots and relations in that
beautiful Isle across the Irish Sea.
My grandfather came from Carryduff and when my
father and aunt were living in East Belfast during the
second world war, they used to sleep either at Carryduff
(where my great grandfather was a farmer) or at Dundonald
(where my father's aunt lived) in order to be as safe
My mother lived in the Shore Road area of Belfast
and her house was bombed during the blitz. Afterwards
she discovered that many families slept on Cave Hill
as they thought it was safer there than in the city.
Your stories are really touching and i'm sorry
for all you loses my thoughts are with you xxxxxx
I remember the "Blitz" well - was around
five at the time. I lived on the Crumlin Road. My father
was in the army, and overseas. My mother and brother
Eddie and myself were evacuated to Fermanagh, where
we spent six happy months in a lovely big farm house
before we came back - I had to start school! Our infant
school was to be in Crumlin Road Presbyterian Church,
which took a direct hit and ended in rubble - so we
were housed in another Church Hall in Geoffrey Street.
Those were wonderful days. I remember every Primary
School Teacher I ever had - and boy were they dedicated
teachers. Moving on to the "big school" -
Edenderry Intermediate was a wonderful experience, all
new and shiny and wonderful teachers,too. Anybody remember
Mr. Hawthorne, Principal or my favourite teacher of
all time, Mr. Malone?
Bette McDowell (nee Dinsmore)