UK

HMNB Devonport Marks 80 Years Since Plymouth Blitz

A series of commemorative events are being held in Plymouth to remember the fallen of the 1941 Blitz.

Events across Plymouth are being held to mark 80 years since the Plymouth Blitz, when large swathes of the city were destroyed by air raids.

The heaviest period of bombing took place in March and April 1941, with 900 people killed and 40,000 made homeless.

A small service of commemoration has been held at Devonport Naval Base to remember those who lost their lives in the Blitz and those who survived and rebuilt the city in the following years.

"It's a part of our community's history," Royal Navy Chaplain, Reverend Tim Wilkinson, said.

"We need to remember that [and] we need to continue to honour people who have come before us and who have passed the mantle of looking after Plymouth, making Plymouth the city [it is] today."

WaDamage in central Plymouth (Credit: Plymouth City Council) Date Unknown.jpg
About 40,000 people lost their homes during the 1941 Plymouth Blitz (Picture: Plymouth City Council).

Plymouth was one of the most heavily bombed cities in the United Kingdom after London.

More than 200,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on the city, as well as 6,600 high explosive bombs.

Reverend Wilkinson said: "With the story of Plymouth, you've got the names of the roads, you can go to the places [where] it happened and we've got the photographs, so we can imagine what it was like and we can see what we've done in rebuilding and continuing the city.

"I think it's really important that we continue to remember that [and] don't forget where we've come from."

On Monday evening at 21:00, every warship in the Naval Base and Plymouth Sound – including visiting vessels such as the USS Carter Hall and San Antonio – will shine their searchlights in the sky for 30 minutes.

The gesture will offer a commemorative parallel with the beams of light that swept the skies 80 years ago, trying to trap German bombers for anti-aircraft gunners during the Second World War.