Belfast Blitz: ‘We could hear the exploding bombs and were terrified’

The 
Antrim Road in Belfast after the 1941 blitz
The Antrim Road in Belfast after the 1941 blitz
0
Have your say

The interesting memories of the Belfast Blitz that you are publishing have triggered some of my own recollections, which I thought I would share.

There are three events that I recall from the time, when I was aged 10.

In what must have been the first air raid, we had for some reason moved to my grandmother’s house in 20 Cyprus Park, east Belfast. We all took shelter in the broom cupboard under the staircase. My eldest brother John continued to sleep and we could not get him out of bed. We could hear the exploding bombs and were scared, nay terrified. In those early days I collected newspapers and waste paper in an old pram from neighbours for the war effort.

The second event was returning from Portrush, perhaps on Easter Tuesday morning. Looking back, it is interesting that during that difficult time we still had a car and were able to take a short weekend break. As we drove down the Antrim Road, above, we were shocked to see the burnt-out homes and smoking rubble. My younger brother Roger recalled that the lions had escaped from Bellevue Zoo.

The following month the family ‘evacuated’ to the Killyleagh area, where I witnessed the final air raids from afar. In the blackout I had a clear vision of watching spellbound the brilliant glow and flashing lights 20 miles away in Belfast. We were in a cottage in Lisnaw, Clea Lake in Co Down.

One final memory was visiting our cousins, the Secker family, in 3 Knockdarragh Park near Stormont. An incendiary bomb had gone through their roof to the ground floor and the hole through three floors was evident for some time. They had a Morrison Shelter, which was basically a metal table-tennis table under which they crawled to safety.

Dr Sidney Lowry, Crawfordsburn, Co Down