Manchester and surrounding areas became the target for German Luftwaffe attacks on December 22nd and 23rd 1940.  Here are the memories of some of those who were there:

‘The sirens sounded at 5.30 that Sunday evening. The first bomb to fall was on the Jewish hospital, then we knew they had moved to the town centre. The floors and walls of the house rose and fell back into place. I thought they would have collapsed. We sat under the stairs, listening to the crunch and clank sound as the bomb hit the ground and our guns were mobile up and down the streets outside, pom-pomming, trying to hit them. They could be seen in the light of many fires raging around us. At one o’clock in the morning, we had a lull. I went to the front door. Hannah street was lit up by orange dancing flames from the goods yard on Rochdale Road and Tate and Lyle sugar warehouse, Baxendale’s and factory yard were ablaze. St James clock struck one, but didn’t stop. It kept on. ‘Oh my goodness, it’s an invasion, the bell’s still ringing!’ said my mum. The air raid warden from the A.F.S down the street came up. ‘Please go indoors, the bombs have done something to the clock’s mechanism. It’s not an invasion.’

Excerpt from Edna Bumby, taken from Collyhurst Recollections.

Bomb damaged Jewish Hospital

The Jewish hospital in Manchester after The Blitz,
image courtesy of Manchester Local Image Collection, M08599

Miller Street, blitzed properties,
image courtesy of Manchester Local Image Collection, M03358

Blitz damaged Baxendale's on Miller Street.Baxendale’s on Miller Street after The Blitz,
image courtesy of Manchester Local Image Collection, M03357

As time passed, more people found their way into the shelter. News, and sometimes rumours, circulated, such as ‘Baxendale’s in Miller Street is on fire!’ and ‘The railway yard in Thompson street and Rochdale Road has been bombed!’ This information was later found to be true. Into the early hours of the morning there were spells of noisy activity, then long intervals of silence.

Excerpt from Joe Kay, taken from North Manchester Remembered, 1914-1950

Two women looking after a child in an air raid shelter
A Manchester air raid shelter, 1940.
Image courtesy of Manchester Local Images, M09624.

If you are interested in discovering more about the Manchester Blitz have a look at our blog posts Manchester Blitz, Aerial Bomb Maps, and Storify thread https://storify.com/mcrarchives/manchester-christmas-blitz-1

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