Council to debate call for Belfast Blitz memorial

The Blitz plaque at Percy Street, Belfast
The Blitz plaque at Percy Street, Belfast

Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee will meet next week to discuss plans for the erection of a permanent memorial to remember those killed in the Belfast Blitz during the Second World War.

More than 1,000 people — civilians and military personnel — died when German bombers targeted the city in April and May 1941.

Cllr Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE

Cllr Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE

On Monday, UUP councillor Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE put a motion to the council proposing that “a significant memorial, inclusive of the victims’ names, be erected in the city with a view to it being unveiled in time for the 80th anniversary of the Belfast Blitz in 2021.”

While there are plaques in various parts of the city marking blitz sites, Cllr Dudgeon says it’s now time for a “big, significant memorial” in the city centre.

“Cathedral Gardens, which is at the York Street and Lower Donegall Street junction, is perhaps the most appropriate and suitable location, given it was subject to extensive destruction in the 1941 air raids and is council-owned. It is also accepted that ‘Buoys Park’, as it was known, is now in need of reanimation and a major replacement feature for the departing Buoys,” the motion, which was seconded by Alderman Pat Convery, said.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Cllr Dudgeon said: “The events (of the Belfast Blitz) are remembered but they were too gross, so grotesque in their enormity to be grasped, especially today which is why we need some focus of understanding.

“We have a patchwork of indicators at various locations in the city, but there is no central memorial with the names of all those who died in the blitz; no single site for remembrance.”

Cllr Dudgeon is hopeful that members will support his motion for a memorial when they meet on Friday, December 14.