City commemorates “York Blitz”

A memorial service will be held today at 3pm in St Martin Le Grand Church to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Baedeker raid on York.

The Baedeker guidebooks according to German propaganda were used to chose York as a target ©Ww2censor; Image credit: Creative Commons

In 1942 the Luftwaffe in retaliation for the earlier British raid on the historic port of Lubeck launched a series of raids on British Cathedral cities. Supposedly targets were chosen for being rated at 3 stars in the German Baedeker guidebooks.

The raid in the early hours of the morning of 29th April 1942 killed 92 people, and leaving more than 9,000 buildings damaged.

Documents online from archives on the air raids reveal an incendiary bomb struck the King’s Manor causing a fire.

The raids occurred during April May and June 1942 and targeted Exeter, Bath, Norwich, and Canterbury as well as York.

Major damage was also done to the railway station and the Guildhall, both of which took decades to restore, the Guildhall being reopened in the 1960s whilst a plaque in the railway station commemorates the completion of repairs in the 1980s.

A Twitter feed recounting the course of the Baedeker raids has been set up at @BaedekerLive using the city’s archives to recount the events of the raid.

The RAF at the time had a command post in the University’s Heslington Hall, which coordinated the various RAF bases in the district. Most planes based near the city were on Operations over Germany on the night of the raid.

There is also an exhibition on in the city’s art gallery until 19th June.

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