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Piccadilly, Manchester. Christmas Eve 1940
The heaviest raid of the Manchester Blitz was on 23rd December 1940. This photo, taken the morning after, is at the corner of Piccadilly and Portland Street, looking towards Sackville Street where many cotton warehouses were on fire.
Over the nights of the 22nd and 23rd December 1940, 441 Luftwaffe bombers appeared over Manchester. They were mostly Heinkel 1-11s and Junkers 88s with a few Dornier 17s as well. Bombs fell across Manchester and Salford and the surrounding towns. 654 people were killed over the two nights, and 2279 injured.
A young lad called Frank Walsh, on his way to work, described the scene above;
“….all you could see was one mass of flames engulfing the whole row of five story warehouses on the opposite side – every window alight from end to end – top to bottom, with flames belching from where the roof had been.” Frank Walsh, BBC WW2 People’s War, November 2003
The casualty figures – and the image above – are from Peter J Smith’s excellent book Luftwaffe over Manchester (2003). Wikipedia put the figures a bit higher at 684 people killed and 2,364 injured.