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World War 2 in the Hull blitz

Updated on April 7, 2013

The Blitz of Hull

World War 2 the blitz- The 29th of December 2010 was the 70th Anniversary of the Blitz by Hitler of  Britains Ports in WW11. The bombing during the war of Kingston upon Hull,  a port on the East Yorkshire coast represented a major turning point in the war tactics used by Adolf Hitler; The bombing of Civilians. I was a child some 40 odd years ago and lived in Bridlington a small fishing village on the East Coast of Yorkshire. During WW2 many children and mothers were evacuated to Bridlington & surrounds. I lived with my father mother and sister. My dad well he had an interesting life. At that time he played the Piano Accordion on Pleasure Boats that did day trips along the picturesque Yorkshire Coast. Something he did on a seasonal basis from the early 1950's until 1972. The Coastline was often tall chalk cliffs like similar to the White Cliffs of Dover. These tall cliffs commenced around Sewerby and extended past Flamborough Head all the way up to and beyond Whitby passing the historic & famous seaside town of Scarborough. Lots of incredible seabirds inhabited the cliffs such as Seagulls Guillemots and cormorant's to name a few. Some of these pleasure cruises took an hour two hours or all day if we went up to Whitby and back.

The Blitz of Hull was the Germany's strategic bombing campaign targeted on the Northern English port city of Kingston upon Hull (commonly referred to as 'Hull') in 1941.  This was a deliberate and concerted campaign by Hitler to disrupt British busy shipping activities-essential for Britain's commercial and war time survival. The city was an obvious target for Luftwaffe bombing because of its importance as a port and industrial centre. Being on the east coast, at the confluence of two rivers and with readily identifiable docks in the city centre, it was also a relatively easy target. The city was subjected to several types of German bombs which had a lethal and terrifying effects on the population of the city. As a result it suffered heavy bombing from May 1941 to July 1943, and sporadic attacks thereafter until the end of the war. It endured the first daylight raid of the war and the last piloted air raid.

Hull during the blitz
Hull during the blitz
Hull during the Blitz
Hull during the Blitz
Boy down on his luck !
Boy down on his luck !

During the long cold winters we had in which the Pleasure Boats would tie up from October(fall) to April(spring) many a night would be spent in front of the fire listening to music from the forty, fifties and sixties. Benny Goodman, Aker Bilk, Glen Miller Band and that sort of thing; Mantovani of course. Dad was an avid collector of LPs's he had literally thousands of 78's and 33 1/3 Rpm records. He also I recall had a 'Bush' brand reel to reel tape recorder. Most of winter he would spend dealing in Second hand Antiquarian books. It was during these winter month's that dad would recite time after time some of his experiences during the war. Even though dad was not a soldier (due to the catching of T.B.) in the war we had lots of relatives who did including a POW who went completely mad and was locked up in an asylum for many years. More importantly he was a witness to the Blitz of Hull. No doubt if he had have been hit I would not be telling this story.

The main story of course was the Blitz bombing of Hull. A lot of Hull was flattened during the Blitz even the statute of a local the legendary and prominent MP William Wilberforce was almost wiped out.

During the Second World War (1939-45)my dad developed TB or Tuberculosis and as such was exempt from Military Service. Instead he became a clerk in A Solicitors Office and a Rations Clerk for a time. The position of Rations Clerk gave him a lifelong passion for thift. Almost as miserly as Scrooge. Something that his son decided not to follow sometimes to his detriment...

Hull was extensively bombed through the German Blitz. Dad and my stepmother were lucky to Escape. Dad took off to Bridlington 70 miles north and my Stepmother May spent several years at Broadgates Hospital in Beverley some 40 miles away...

Even though there was a post war reconstruction effort for many years after the war the remains of may buildings remained untouched unrestored. Sort of like a monument far more powerful than a war grave to indicate and show how stupid war is. Even when I went back to Hull in the year 2000 some 55 years since the war and there were still buildings left untouched unrepaired or cleared in all that time. Probably a lasting reminder of the terror that war was and is especially the effect of blanket blitz bombing of civilian cities.

The Blitz of Britain including Kingston upon Hull represents a newer phenomenon in warfare the mass destruction of civilian populations

Kingston upon Hull:
City of Kingston-upon-Hull, UK

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    • profile image

      Maureen Ward 

      6 years ago

      Find your page of great interest. I am a mature student at Hull University. My task this term is researching Hull during World War 2. May I use some of your information please.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hey, our class is learning abour World War 2! bye bye SYS

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fascinating story, so few people realise the effects on the civilian popultion and believe that everyone was able to 'muddle through' with the Blitz spirit. It's simply not true, many people couldn't cope with the constant strain on their nerves.

      I live in Beverley, Broadgates is now a housing estate, I'm currently working on a 'then and now' photographic project of the Blitz on Hull.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      William Torpey thanks for your comments. Just last week I saw the last of series of BBC documentaries hoted by David Dimbleby baired here on the BBC about the Blitz Bombing increddible planning & ingenuity used in the attacks & defences... by both sides

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I was a youngster during WW II, barryrutherford, and have some personal memories of those days. It's a subject that I find fascinating, especially the Blitz and stories by people who have a personal connection to those tragic times. I served in the U.S. Army in Germany long after WW II, but I had the pleasure of seeing the "White Cliffs of Dover" from our tranport ship headed for Bremerhaven. It was a big thrill for me because Dame Vera Lynn's rendition of "White Cliffs of Dover" touched my heart during the war. Thumbs up.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Salt thanks for your comment. My belated response is I just saw a television documentary by David Dimbleby 'The way things were' which examined and recreated the effects of the bombs in a row of shops & houses using the various bombs the Germans used.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I know things seem bigger when you're a kid but Beverley is only 6 or 7 miles from Hull and Bridlington is about 25 miles away. My mother came from Hull but moved to the other side of the river when she married. She used to tell me stories of watching Hull burn during the war.

    • salt profile image


      8 years ago from australia

      lovely story, I was imagining the white cliffs of dover the other day, or did I see them on a documentary? Umm, maybe it was both.

      We had a generation of men who learnt to fly and women who learnt to build and manufacture almost anything. We may loose that type of inate knowledge with the current generations - not wishing a war, but just noting the skills used by those who are now of my grandparents era, got us to where we are now. To me it may be an intrinsic loss of skilled thinking generated by need.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      such a small world my family sister & mother lived outside of Huddersfield on the way to Sheffield

    • Catherine R profile image

      Catherine R 

      9 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Now this is a good one - it is really interesting to read something historical with a personal perspective like this. Also unless one has an interest in bombings or WW2 (which I don't) then it is unlikely that I would come across this type of information. I have actually lived in Yorkshire (Sheffield) and had no idea that Hull had been bombed so badly. Your Dad sounds like a very interesting character - perhaps the subject of a future hub all of his own?


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