The aftermath of the Dockside Raid still dominated the local discourse. Moya Woodside, the Belfast housewife and Mass Observation reporter, reported three main ‘types of reaction to raids. Those whose whole life seems conditions by the possibility of a raid; who are constantly thinking about it…won’t go out in the evenings; run around at night filling baths…Those who do not bother with raids or precautions in the daytime…Those who adopt a fatalistic attitude to the whole thing; who take no precautions and remain calm…’[1]

Some people began to take the measures for civil defence with more seriousness. Tax Inspector Doreen Bates, who had moved from London to Belfast in 1940, noted that her office had received instruction in how to deal with incendiaries. She called at the blood transfusion service and registered.[2]


Between 7th April and 6th May 1941, four aerial bombing raids on Belfast killed over 900 people, injured 1,500 and damaged about half of the city’s homes. Thousands were made homeless and over 100,000 residents fled to the country. This period in Belfast’s history has become known as the Belfast Blitz. To mark the 81st anniversary, key events each day over the Blitz period are being retold here on this website and also on Twitter (@drtomstours).

[1] Cited in Stephen Douds, The Belfast Blitz, The People’s Story (Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 2011), pp.26-27.

[2] Doreen Bates, Diary of a Wartime Affair, The true story of a surprisingly modern romance (London: Penguin Random House, 2017), p.262.