‘Belfast is the forgotten victim of the Blitz. The appalling losses suffered by all sections of a divided community should never be forgotten and they are illustrated vividly in this excellent book.’ states Dan Snow.
The Belfast Blitz is written by Stephen Douds who expertly uncovers personal accounts of the Blitz that have never been published before, to produce a book that really is ‘The People’s Story’.
During a devastating chapter of Belfast’s history, the Belfast Blitz killed more people over two nights then were killed during the Troubles of Northern Ireland and affected the entire Province. The cover image of the book even shows a mobile canteen in Ballymoney and the demolition squad.
Until the first bombs fell on Belfast in 1941, the city had little direct experience of the war. But, in April and May of that year everything changed. The Luftwaffe targeted the city, launching bombing raids of such ferocity that one observer described the Nazi planes as being like a ‘giant swarm of insects’. Over one thousand people were killed, countless more were injured and the shape of the city changed forever.
In over 150 contributions from the widest possible range of sources the book tells the story of the Belfast Blitz from the perspective of those who lived through it – what people saw and experienced and how they felt. Covering the days of peace before the raids, the terrifying nights when the bombs rained down and the traumatic aftermath.
The reader meets many characters through the book, some that the author has met and some that he hasn’t. But, one family in particular is still being sought. Londoner Doreen Bates came to work in Belfast as a Tax Inspector the month before the Belfast Blitz and lodged with the Bennett’s at 79 Victoria Road in Sydenham. There are many references to the family in Doreen’s diary, reproduced for the very first time in this book, but can you help find the Bennett family?
This new book brings together a particular interest in the power of individual testimony to illuminate history, and a special interest in Belfast before the Troubles.
The Belfast Blitz is a testament to the people whose voices and stories form this book.
The book is priced £9.99, however thanks to The Blackstaff Press, the Ballymoney and Moyle Times has three copies to give away.
Simply send a postcard to Belfast Blitz, 6 Church Street, Ballymoney. BT53 6DL or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, April 27.