Belfast Blitz: Carnage has never been adequately commemorated, says councillor

Councillors Jeff Dudgeon, David Armitage, Pat Convery at the City Cemetery memorial to the unidentified Belfast Blitz victims. April 10 2016
Councillors Jeff Dudgeon, David Armitage, Pat Convery at the City Cemetery memorial to the unidentified Belfast Blitz victims. April 10 2016

UUP Belfast councillor Jeffrey Dudgeon here urges people to attend that commemorative events in what will be “one last” bid to raise the profile of the horrors of the Blitz:

The scale of the Belfast air raids on April 15 and May 4, 1941 left a huge scar on the city, physically and psychologically.

City Cemetery memorial to the unidentified Belfast Blitz victims

City Cemetery memorial to the unidentified Belfast Blitz victims

But the impact was silent, not well transmitted to the next generation, and never adequately commemorated.

Arrangements for a permanent memorial in City Hall grounds to the 1,000 dead are still being taken forward in association with Northern Ireland War Memorial in Talbot Street.

Like most born after the war, we have family stories of 1941. In my case, I know our house in east Belfast had an incendiary bomb on the roof, others in Earlswood Road were destroyed in the high explosive raid on Easter Tuesday, my sister was evacuated to Newcastle, my mother took – literally – to the hills in the following weeks as did thousands of others, while my father was on duty throughout in the Home Guard.

But there are few now who have actual memories of those terrible two nights.

By commemorating the 75th anniversary we have one last chance to hear witness accounts before the worst and most concentrated horror the city has ever experienced passes entirely into history.

In memory of the dead, I would urge as many as possible to come to St Anne’s Cathedral in Donegall Street this Sunday at 3.30pm for the joint civic memorial service with St Patrick’s.

• Jeff Dudgeon is an Ulster Unionist councillor for Balmoral

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