70th anniversary: Belfast remembers World War II Blitz - PHOTOS

Belfast after the Blitz

SEE GALLERY- The Belfast Blitz- Images from the Belfast Telegraph's Archive

As the 70th anniversary of the Belfast Blitz approaches the city prepares to remember all those who perished.

April 15, 1941 was a night when almost 1,000 people were killed during a prolonged bombing campaign by the Germans.

Belfast city was a target during second World War due to its large shipyard and aircraft manufacture base.

The night the fatal attacks occurred was Easter Tuesday 1941.

An air warden in Belfast that night said "The sirens started at quarter to eleven, and by eleven o'clock my team was on the street - that started six hours of horror, death and destruction."

For several hours, hundreds of tons of high explosive bombs and incendiaries were dropped on the city.

Crowded terraced houses  were  close by to the targeted docks area.

Those who were killed were stacked into the Falls Road Public baths and in a market close to the city centre.

Many of the victims could not be identified, if Rosary beads were found in a pocket then it was assumed they were Catholic.

As well as the huge loss of life, there was also extensive damage across the city, as half of the houses in Belfast city were hit by bombs which in turn left 100,000 people homeless.
One Belfast survivor recognized putting out fires throughout the city.

"Two of our comrades from the Sans Souci station were killed. They were coming along Royal Avenue when a bomb dropped and it left a crater. They drove into the crater," he told BBC New Northern Ireland.

"I saw an Alsatian dog with a dead baby in its mouth. It was running away. I took off my metal helmet and threw it on the ground. The rattle scared the dog and he dropped the baby.

"I remember wrapping the baby's body in some old net curtain from one of the bombed houses.

"I left the baby with some soldiers, having attached a note to say that the body was found on York Street... Things like that, you never forget."

He also recalled a friend, who was unable to find his mother and father’s bodies after their house was bombed.

"We went down to the stalls in the market. The dead were laid out on them. And I remember going along and lifting the sheeting to look at the bodies. But we never found his parents."

There are two monuments in Belfast city where the unidentified were buried in mass graves.

Both on the Falls Road, one is located at the Catholic Milltown Cemetery, the other in the non-denominational City Cemetery.

SEE GALLERY- The Belfast Blitz- Images from the Belfast Telegraph's Archive