9 Sep 2010

70th anniversary of the Blitz marked in London

10:46 am on 9 September 2010

A memorial service has been held in London to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of the German bombing campaign known as the Blitz in World War II.

The service, at St Paul's Cathedral, was followed by a fly-past of wartime aircraft, the BBC reports.

The date of 7 September is exactly 70 years to the day since the German offensive switched to non-military targets, with nearly 1000 planes crossing the English Channel to attack cities.

Over 24 nights, 5300 tonnes of high explosives were dropped on the British capital.

More than 400 people were killed on the first day alone. Hundreds more were injured and huge fires burned across London.

London was not the only city targeted by the Luftwaffe. In Coventry, on 14 November 1940, 500 German bombers dropped 500 tonnes of explosives and nearly 900 incendiary bombs in 10 hours of unrelenting bombardment.

Most industrialised areas were targeted, not least of all Merseyside. More than 4000 people were killed, many during the worst raids in Christmas 1940 and May 1941.