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Monday, 15 April 2013

15/16‭ ‬April‭ ‬1941:‭ ‬The Luftwaffe Bombed Belfast [above] on this day.‭ ‬The city’s first major attack of the War was on Easter Tuesday night,‭ ‬15-16‭ ‬April.‭ ‬An estimated ‬180‭ ‬aircraft participated in the assault,‭ ‬which lasted for five and a half hours‭ (‬11:30‭ ‬pm‭–‬4:55‭ ‬am‭)‬.‭ ‬Bombs fell on average at a rate of two per minute.‭ ‬There was virtually no resistance from the ground.‭ ‬Due to blast damage to the city’s telephone exchange the anti-aircraft guns fell silent from‭ ‬1:45‭ ‬am onwards.‭ ‬By the time of the‭ “‬all clear‭” ‬it had to be rung by hand-bells because of a power failure.

An Observer from Dublin,‭ ‬Major Sean O’Sullivan noted that:

In the Antrim Road‭ [‬North Belfast‭] ‬and vicinity the attack was of a particularly concentrated character and in many instances bombs from successive waves of bombers fell within‭ ‬15-20‭ ‬yards of one another‭ … ‬In this general area,‭ ‬scores of houses were completely wrecked,‭ ‬either by explosion,‭ ‬fire or blast,‭ ‬while hundreds were damaged so badly as to be uninhabitable‭ … ‬In suburban areas,‭ ‬many were allowed to burn themselves out and during the day wooden beams were still burning‭ … ‬During the night of‭ ‬16-17,‭ ‬many of these smouldering fires broke out afresh and fire appliances could be heard passing throughout the night‭…

The Air Raid killed some‭ ‬745‭ ‬people,‭ ‬injured‭ ‬1,500‭ ‬and destroyed about‭ ‬1,600‭ ‬houses with many more damaged to a greater or lesser extent.‭

‭It was the greatest loss of life through violence on the island of Ireland in the 20th century.