The raid on the night of the 4-5 May had caused significant damage. Though this was known as the ‘fire raid’ because the Germans used three times the number of incendiaries than they had done on the Easter Tuesday Raid. Combined with the use of incendiaries, the Germans dropped around 200 tonnes of high explosive bombs, a slightly smaller load than during the Easter Tuesday Raid.

As a consequence across Belfast there was wide spread blast damage in the city as well as damage caused by fires. One example of this destruction was on Eglinton Street (middle left of map below). This street, like Unity and Trinity Streets, was terrace housing the working class communities of Belfast.

Eglington Street had a church in it and a school. The school was being used as a billet for members of the 173 Company of the Royal Pioneer Corps. Five soldiers were killed when it was hit.

Further along the street several civilians were killed. James Gass, 66, was killed at Number 18 Eglinton Street, and Adam McGregor, 55, was killed at 33 Eglinton Street.

Many of these houses were full of people. At Number 31 Eglinton Street, 18 people had been in the house when the bomb struck and all had got away except Raymond Crothers, aged 18 and a labourer.[1]

After the raid, Marcella Close, a resident of Eglinton Street, was found guilty on six charges of looting. One witness said Close had stolen a canary belonging to the witness and other items she was convicted of stealing included a wireless and four chairs. She was sent to prison for 12 months.[2]

ABOUT

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] Belfast Telegraph 19 June 1941 p.5

[2] Belfast Telegraph, 22 May 1941, p.3.