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Belfast Blitz: Air raid sirens sound again as city pays tribute to those who perished

By Cate McCurry

Belfast City Hall reverberated to the sound of air raid sirens last night as a 'sound and light' presentation was held to remember those who died in the Blitz 75 years ago.

More than 1,000 people were killed when Luftwaffe bombers carried out four raids on Belfast during April and May 1941.

It was the biggest loss of life in any night raid outside London.

Bombing targets included the shipyard, Shorts aircraft manufacturers, Mackies and linen works. Half the housing stock was damaged in the attacks which left 50,000 people homeless.

A plaque unveiled in St George's Market - which was then used as a mortuary - was the first in a series of memorials commemorating those killed in the air raids 75 years ago. Further wall plaques will mark the key sites which suffered the greatest loss of life with each documenting the number of casualties at that location.

On the night of Tuesday, April 15, 1941 almost 200 Luftwaffe bombers undertook the second, and biggest, of four raids on the city. More than 900 people were killed, in the biggest loss of life in any night raid outside London, with a further 1,500 injured. Another 150 people were killed in a subsequent raid on the night of May 4-5, 1941.

The unveiling of the plaque was the first in a series of commemorative events taking place over the weekend. Following the unveiling at St George's Market, a commemoration ceremony took place yesterday afternoon in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery in Talbot Street.

Today there will be a Blitz-themed family open day in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery between 10.30am and 2.30pm.

The weekend of commemorations will draw to a close with a joint non-denominational church service at St Anne's Cathedral tomorrow.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson with the Henry sisters — Bridget, Peggy and Philomena — who were evacuated to Dublin from Belfast during the Blitz. They returned to the city yesterday for the unveiling of a memorial plaque at St George’s Market
Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson with the Henry sisters — Bridget, Peggy and Philomena — who were evacuated to Dublin from Belfast during the Blitz. They returned to the city yesterday for the unveiling of a memorial plaque at St George’s Market

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