Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Christmas the Nazis Blitzed Manchester

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Christmas the Nazis Blitzed Manchester

Article excerpt

Note: Teenager's account of air raids three-quarters of a century ago tells how people survived horrific Second World War onslaught that saw more than 650 lives lost. Teenager's account of air raids three-quarters of a century ago tells how people survived horrific Second World War onslaught that saw more than 650 lives lost.DIANE LEES, director-general of Imperial War Museums, shares stories from IWM North's Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits exhibition, as part of a partnership with the M.E.N. to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nazi blitz on Britain

THE blitz came to Manchester and Salford on December 22-24 when the frontline came terribly closer to home.

The Second World War Blitz brought the war to the doorsteps of Britain and it was the heaviest targeted bombing on civilians until that point in history.

During bombings over Manchester from 22 - 24 December 1940, over 650 people were killed and 50,000 homes damaged.

It may seem many years ago now but it's still a very real memory for some.

IWM's sound archives reveal one personal account of the Blitz from Robert John Alexander, who was only a teenager when he witnessed the German Air Force attacks on Trafford Park in 1940.

Robert vividly recalls: "We all had sheltersfi We had a shelter built in the back yard, about 2ft x 6ft and an escape part of it 3ft square tapered to the outside so you could push it out if you were buried in. Right in the backyard.

"We had a paraffin stove and paraffin lamp, teas and blankets. Flasks of tea and coffee ready. Sandwiches and blankets. And that's where we were on the first night of the Manchester Blitz. That's 1141, Eleventh Street, Trafford Park. The Americans built Trafford Park because Metropolitan Vickers was there then."

Having previously been evacuated to Knutsford, a more rural area deemed to be safer and less of a target to German bombers, Robert was soon returned home to Trafford Park.

This was just in time to witness the bombing of one of Europe's largest industrial areas and a key target of the German campaign, which if successful could bring the production of arms and munitions to a significant halt. …

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