Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Firefighters retrace Blitz route

Wreath-bearers stand at a memorial outside St Paul's Cathedral to the firefighters who died during the Second World War
Wreath-bearers stand at a memorial outside St Paul's Cathedral to the firefighters who died during the Second World War

Veteran firefighters have taken a 1940s fire engine along the life-saving route they travelled on one of the worst nights of the Blitz during the Second World War.

Swathes of London were ablaze after German bombers dropped 100,000 incendiary bombs, starting 15,000 fires from Islington to the City, between around 6pm and 10pm on the night of Sunday, December 29, 1940.

St Paul's Cathedral survived the barrage, and a photograph of its dome standing proudly amongst the smoke and flames engulfing the capital became an iconic image of British resilience.

Marianne Fredericks, a Common Councillor for the ward of Tower in the City of London, who took part in the procession, said: "It was a massive raid in the City of London and the London docks.

"Over Christmas there had been a lull in the bombings, but they started again just after 6pm on the evening of December 29.

"Hitler thought that if he destroyed the cathedral, he would crumble the spirit of the nation. But St Paul's survived, and it became a beacon of pride for Londoners and the country."

The procession made its way from Dowgate Fire Station, past the Tower of London, Aldgate, Moorgate and Barbican, to St Paul's.

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