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Search lights to scour the Belfast sky to commemorate the blitz

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Tamar Street and Dee Street which experienced the full force of the blitz

Tamar Street and Dee Street which experienced the full force of the blitz

Destruction: Belfast High Street after being blitzed in May 1941

Destruction: Belfast High Street after being blitzed in May 1941

A bombed Belfast street

A bombed Belfast street

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Tamar Street and Dee Street which experienced the full force of the blitz

Search lights will beam across the night sky in Belfast for the 80th anniversary of the Blitz.

Homes across Belfast will be able to see two searchlights in the night sky, being beamed from the grounds of City Hall this Thursday evening, April 15, at around 9pm. The building will be in darkness as the lights are shone.

Belfast Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey said it was “appropriate for the city to pause and reflect”.

He said: “The Belfast Blitz in 1941 was a major event in the city’s history. It had a devastating impact, not only in terms of the tragic loss of life, but also leaving thousands of people without homes.

“Some of our older generation will still have vivid memories of the Blitz; stories of bravery, hardship and survival. It’s important that we continue to remember this part of our city’s history and educate our younger generations, to help them understand the impact the Second World War had on Belfast and its people.”

In total, around 1,000 people lost their lives when German bombers shelled the city over a number of nights in April and May 1941. The devastation was so great that it also left 100,000 people homeless.

The city’s shipyards that were contributing to Britain’s war efforts made it a legitimate target for the Luftwaffe. The Belfast Blitz was the worst wartime raid outside of London in the UK.

The Lord Mayor said: “The east wing of city hall was extensively damaged, with the great hall bearing the brunt of the damage. The Lord Mayor at the time had the foresight to request the removal of the stained glass windows and they were stored in the basement of Mount Panther House in Co Down. Remarkably the ones in the great hall today are the original windows.”

A piece of shrapnel, believed to have come from the incendiary device that struck city hall, is on display at the building as part of its visitor exhibition. The iron spike was found in the central courtyard of the building on the morning following the bombing.

The Lord Mayor will also lay wreaths at City Cemetery and Milltown Cemetery on Thursday at short ceremonies organised by the NI War Museum, in line with current Covid19 restrictions.



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