Friday, 4 April 2014

Norwich in the Blitz

On Thursday 3rd April 2014 I attended the Norwich in the Blitz talk by Steve Snelling at The Curve at The Forum, Norwich. This event presented by the author of Norwich A Shattered City was a well informed and interesting talk.

During two nights of intense bombing in April 1942 Norwich suffered its worst ordeal of the war as Hitler targeted the cathedral city for destruction as part of his vengeance campaign designed to lay waste Britain's cultural centres. Known as the Baedeker raids, the German bombers tore the heart out of the city, turning the commercial centre to a near wasteland, and leaving entire streets in ruins.

Yet, ironically, though there was heavy loss of life, with over 200 deaths caused by these raids alone, the majority of the city's most historic buildings, including its Norman castle and cathedral, escaped the bombs and the fires that ravaged so many shops, factories and homes. The author has made much use of records in the National Archives together with Mass-Observation diaries held at the University of Sussex to tell the full story of a ruthless bombing campaign that continued into the summer of 1942. His research, combined with vivid eyewitness accounts, offers a fresh perspective on the raids as well as setting them in their proper historical context.

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