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75 years on, event remembers night The Oval was hit in Belfast Blitz

By Cate McCurry

Glentoran's football ground was one of many buildings flattened in the Belfast Blitz after 200 Luftwaffe planes rained down bombs across east Belfast for the second time in weeks.

It is 75 years since the German bombers returned to Belfast in an attempt to destroy the city’s industrial infrastructure.

The home of Glentoran FC, The Oval, sits in the shadow of the Harland and Wolff shipyard and Short and Harland aircraft factory.

East Belfast felt the full brunt of the blitz that evening, with almost every street touched by the deathly spectre of a war many believed could never reach these shores.

It took nine years to rebuild the stadium with the help of football fans and local residents after it was almost completely destroyed on May 4, 1941.

The Glentoran Community Trust, in association with Spar and Glentoran Football Club, is hosting an event at The Oval at 7pm today to remember those caught up and killed in the blitz.

Sam Robinson, vice-chairman of Glentoran Community Trust, said an anti-aircraft gun, a Spitfire from the Ulster Aviation Society and a 1938 fire engine are among the many artefacts on display.

He said: “We will have period costumes, including those of air raid wardens, nurses and 1941 fire crew uniforms. Just after 9pm we are doing a 15-minute narration explaining the story of the blitz followed by a five-minute recreation of the sounds of the night, including air raid sirens, anti-aircraft guns, planes coming in and the bombs dropping. That will be heard right across east Belfast including the shipyard and the aircraft factory.

“Then we have a small service of remembrance involving different groups. Then wrapping things up is a swing band.”

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