World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

The Sheffield Blitz

The Attack on Sheffield

The 12th of December Raid

The yellow alert was received at 6.15pm followed by the purple alert at 6.45pm, then red alert at 7pm. The raid was made by three main groups of aircraft tavelling from northern France. 13 Heinkel 111s from Kampfgruppe 100, the German Pathfinder unit arrived over Sheffield at 7.41 p.m. and dropped 16 SC50 high explosive bombs, 1,009 B1 E1 ZA incendiaries and 10,080 B1 E1 incendiaries. The first incendiaries were dropped over Norton Lees and Gleadless.

At around 9.30 p.m. a stick of bombs fell on Campo Lane and Vicar Lane, demolishing the West end of the Cathedral. At about 10.50 p.m. a 500 kg bomb fell on and destroyed the C&A building across from the Marples Hotel in Fitzalan Square. At 11.44 p.m., The Marples Hotel itself received a direct hit. Approximately 70 bodies were recovered from the rubble. This was the single biggest loss of life in the attacks. Most of the bombs on this night fell on the City Centre or on residential districts -  the raid lasting until at 4am.

The 15th December Attack

The second attack saw the first use of a new German policy for their pathfinders. High Explosive bombs were no longer carried but were replaced by incendiaries. On this night the pathfinder force was made up of 16 Heinkel 111s that dropped 11,520 B1 E1 incendiaries between 7 p.m. and 7.50 p.m. The 15 large and numerous small fires started were visible from 90 miles away.

The raid finished at 10.15 p.m. On this occasion, several steelworks received hits including Hadfields, Brown Bayleys and Steel, Peech and Tozer Ltd. However, the damage was not serious enough to stem production.

Aftermath

Overall, more than 660 people were killed, 1,500 injured and 40,000 made homeless. 3,000 homes were demolished with a further 3,000 badly damaged. A total of 78,000 homes received damage. Six George Medals were awarded to citizens of Sheffield for their bravery during the raids. 134 victims of the raids were buried in a communal grave in City Road Cemetery.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the city soon after the raids to inspect the damage and boost morale amongst survivors. Winston Churchill also visited, speaking through loudspeakers to a 20,000 strong crowd in Town Hall Square and giving his signature 'V' for 'Victory' V sign.

The Morning After by Muriel Brown 

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