Norwich Blitz

The Norwich Blitz refers to the heavy bombing of Norwich and surrounding area by the German Luftwaffe during World War II. The bombings launched on numerous British cities were known as the Blitz.

Initially bombed in the summer of 1940, Norwich was subsequently not attacked until April and May 1942 as part of the so-called Baedeker raids, in which targets were chosen for their cultural and historical value and not as a strategic or military target.[1] The most devastating of these attacks occurred on the evening of 27 April 1942 and continued again on 29 April. There were further attacks in May and a heavy bombardment on 26 and 27 June in which Norwich Cathedral was damaged. Norwich Castle, the City Hall and the Guildhall escaped while many residential streets were destroyed.

Background

An Anderson shelter standing intact amid a scene of debris in Norwich

Norwich suffered extensive bomb damage during the Second World War, affecting large parts of the old city centre and Victorian terrace housing around the centre.[2] Industry and rail infrastructure also suffered. The heaviest raids occurred on the nights of 27/28 and 29/30 April 1942; as part of the Baedeker raids; attacks on Bath, Canterbury Norwich, Exeter, and York using Baedeker's series of tourist guides to the British Isles. Norwich became one of the targets of the so-called "Baedeker Blitz", which took place in retaliation for the bombing of L├╝beck by the RAF earlier that year.

Lord Haw-Haw made reference to the imminent destruction of Norwich's new City Hall (completed in 1938), although in the event it survived unscathed. Significant targets hit included the Morgan's Brewery building, Coleman's Wincarnis works, City Station, the Mackintosh chocolate factory, and shopping areas including St Stephen's St and St Benedict's St, the site of Bond's department store (now John Lewis) and Curl's department store. In 1945 the city was also the intended target of a brief V2 rocket campaign, though all these missed the city.[3].

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