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Sheffield Archives and Local Studies GCSE History B Unit 3: Historical Enquiry The British People at War: Air Raids.

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Presentation on theme: "Sheffield Archives and Local Studies GCSE History B Unit 3: Historical Enquiry The British People at War: Air Raids."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sheffield Archives and Local Studies GCSE History B Unit 3: Historical Enquiry The British People at War: Air Raids

2 Why Was Sheffield a Target in World War One? During the First World War, by mid- 1915, there was an acute shortage of munitions and weapons for the war. The Munitions of War Act gave munitions factories and related industries priority over other work and production lines were switched to produce munitions. Sheffield’s strong industrial base meant that there was a heavy concentration of armaments industries in the city and many Sheffield factories played a key part in the war effort. It also meant that it was a target for German forces attempting to cut off production and thus supply to the British front lines. Soldier’s body shield and helmets showing results of shrapnel bullet tests. Both manufactured by Hadfield Ltd, Sheffield, 1916 (Sheffield Archives: Ref. HAD box 57) Munitions Manufacture, Sheffield Simplex Motor Works Ltd. Fitzwilliam Works, Tinsley. (Picture Sheffield: s02070

3 Zeppelins had been used for commercial flights prior to the outbreak of war but Germany began to use Zeppelins for military purposes including reconnaissance and bombing missions. The first German Zeppelin attack on Britain was in January Sheffield suffered its first and only Zeppelin attack on the evening of 25 th /26 th September Zeppelins Zeppelin similar to the L-22 which undertook the air raid on Sheffield in (Reproduced by permission of Mark Goodwill. Image from The L-22 was meters long with a maximum diameter of 18.7 meters. It could accelerate to a top speed of 60 mph.

4 Zeppelins What is a Zeppelin? A rigid skeleton made of metal, usually duralumin or aluminium Gasbag of cells filled with gas such as helium or hydrogen made of sheets of prepared cattle intestine or later, cotton. Moved by internal combustion engines. Steered by several fins Discussion: What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of the Zeppelin? Zeppelin LZ-129 Hindenburg shortly after catching fire on May 6, 1937 at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, USA.

5 Zeppelin Attack on Sheffield The air raid buzzers around the city sounded at approximately 10:30pm on Monday 25 th September to warn people of the impending approach of the Zeppelin. Many people took cover but not everyone heeded the warning, believing that Sheffield’s inland position and the surrounding hills would make it a hard target for any night attacks. This was Sheffield’s 14 th air raid warning (Sheffield was to have over 23 air raid warnings during the war) but this time, the threat was very real. A Zeppelin, (the L-22) arrived over the city just after midnight. It flew across the city to the Fulwood and Redmires areas and then turned towards Attercliffe. It dropped the first of its bombs at approximately 12:25am on 26 th September.

6 Zeppelin Attack on Sheffield The Zeppelin dropped high explosive bombs on several residential streets: Danville Street Grimesthorpe Road Petre Street Writtle Street (now Maxwell Way) Cossey Road Corby Street (now Fred Mulley Road) Woodbourne Hill Road It also dropped several bombs near Burngreave Cemetery, Manor Lane, Darnall and Tinsley colliery but these did little or no damage. Discussion: What do you notice about the areas that were bombed? How many people do you think were killed? Map data © 2011 Google

7 Reporting the Attack Due to National Security, the press were often very vague about the exact location of air raids. A local paper the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star ran a report the day after the raids. “About fifteen bombs were dropped soon after midnight on a North Midland County. It was a calm night with hardly a breath of wind, but was overcast with stars only occasionally showing. The Zeppelin came from the North. Several small houses were wrecked and many had their windows and doors severely damaged….” Sheffield Star, Tuesday 26 th Sep 1916 (Sheffield Local Studies: microfilm)

8 Personal Experiences Below is an extract from a letter written by a resident of the Highfields area of Sheffield. ‘… we had a Zepp Raid on Monday… we sat at my bedroom window and about 12 o’clock we saw a great red flare go across the sky and a second later a terrific crash then another. They were high explosive shells and they shook the earth. The damage is at Pitsmoor and Attercliffe districts right among the works… the havoc among the poor slum houses is awful, one street, Cossey Street, four houses were completely demolished and all the inmates buried. When I [saw] it early in the morning they had recovered 14 bodies but later in the day they brought a baby boy of about 3 years out alive and conscious!’ Part of a letter written by a resident of Highfields, Sheffield, 1916 describing the Zeppelin raid over Sheffield (Sheffield Archives: Ref. MD7126)

9 After the Attack Reports which appear several days after give more details of the casualties which were a result of the attack. 18 high explosive bombs were dropped 18 incendiary bombs were dropped Serious damage was done to 89 houses, one hotel and one chapel. 150 houses were less seriously damaged 28 people were killed Photograph shows rescuers searching the wreckage at Cossey Road, Burngreave after the air raid (Picture Sheffield: s00146)

10 Casualties A list of those killed in the Air Raid appeared in the newspaper but much later. Memorials were erected to remember those who died. Discussion: What do you notice about the ages and sex of the casualties? Plaque commemorating those who lost their life in the 1916 Zeppelin raid. (Picture Sheffield: s22338 ) Report of deaths and damage caused by Zeppelin raids in the Sheffield Star, 4 th Dec (Sheffield Local Studies: microfilm)

11 Why Was Sheffield A Target in World War Two? During the Second World War, Sheffield’s factories once again were heavily involved in the production of armaments. As before, this made the industrial part of the city a prime target for Hitler’s forces. Hitler’s plan was to bomb the major cities, cutting off the production and making the British people panic, forcing the country’s surrender. This period of bombing was know as ‘The Blitz’. The word comes from the German 'blitzkrieg', which means 'lightning war'. Core Moulds for Tallboy (10 ton) and Grand Slam (5 ton) Bombs (Picture Sheffield: u04016 ) Finished 16 inch Gun Barrels, Gun Shop Examination Bay, Vickers Ltd., River Don Works (Picture Sheffield: s10742 )

12 Civil Defence The Government and people were more prepared during World War II for aerial raids. Lots of people had special shelters in their gardens. There were also Air Raid Precaution (ARP) wardens who would take charge during an air raid and make sure people got to safety. There were anti aircraft guns and barrage balloons around Sheffield to try and head off aerial attacks. ARP magazine (Sheffield Local Studies Library: Ref S) R.A.F. barrage balloon on Crookesmoor Recreation Ground (Picture Sheffield: s03559 )

13 The Sheffield Blitz The main attacks on Sheffield took place on the nights of 12/13th and 15/16th December On 12th December over 330 German aircraft are believed to have attacked the city. Two nights later the bombers returned and 90 enemy aircraft attacked the city. High Street in Flames, World War II (Picture Sheffield: s00275 )

14 Sheffield Blitz – Nazi Plans Documents now held at Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library show the Nazi’s plans The document above is a translation showing how many planes were due to bomb Sheffield and at what time. (Sheffield Local Studies Library: Blitz Education Folder) This document is in German and describes the exact location of Rixon Woodhouse, a factory involved in the war effort. The area to be bombed was highlighted in red on the accompanying map (Sheffield Archives: Ref: X196)

15 Sheffield Blitz – The First Attack As in the First World War, the air raids sounded and people attempted to take cover. On 12th December over 330 German aircraft attacked but the industrial east of the city was largely defended by fog so again, as when the Zeppelins attacked, the bombs landed in more residential areas. Areas hit included Norton Lees, Gleadless, Abbeydale, Brincliffe Edge, Moorhead, Glossop Road, Park Hill, Millhouses, Sharrow, Broomhill, Crookesmoor, Walkley, Owlerton, Burngreave, Meersbrook, Wybourn and Neepsend. The Moor was devastated and every building on Angel Street was bombed or fire- damaged. Nether Edge Hospital and Jessops Hospital suffered direct hits and 106 out of 154 Sheffield schools were damaged (8 destroyed). Many people took cover in air raid shelters, known as Anderson shelters. These were half buried in the ground and often were put in people’s back gardens. (Picture Sheffield: s02365 and s02045 )

16 Sheffield Blitz Images from showing Sheffield burning after the raiders dropped their bombs. (Picture Sheffield (from left to right): s01282, s01204, s01135, and s01157 )

17 Sheffield Blitz – The Second Attack 2 nights later, 90 enemy aircraft attacked. This time the industrial east of the city was hit - Attercliffe, Grimesthorpe and Burngreave in particular. Most of the major munitions and armament factories were not badly damaged and very few actually lost any time in closing for repairs Photographs showing the damage inflicted by the air raids. (Picture Sheffield (from left to right): s01056 and s01166)

18 Almost 700 people killed during these 2 air raids. Over 82,000 houses damaged. Well-known buildings badly damaged/destroyed included Kings Head Hotel, Angel Hotel, Atkinson’s Department Store, C & A Modes, St Mark’s church, St Vincent’s Roman Catholic church, the Central Hebrew Synagogue, Sheffield United Football Club’s Bramall Lane ground and the Athenaeum Club. Sheffield Blitz - After the Attack Photographs show C&A Modes and the Marples Hotel after the Blitz, and Bramall Lane Football Ground. (Picture Sheffield (from left to right: s02106 and s01013 )

19 Sheffield Blitz – The Marples Hotel Single biggest loss of life took place in the Marples Hotel, on corner of Fitzalan Square/ High Street. On night of 12 December 1940, over 70 people were sheltering in the cellar there. At pm the building received a direct hit from a high explosive bomb and all 7 storeys collapsed down onto the cellars. Only 7 survived. Photograph shows the rescue of a survivor from the Marples Hotel, the morning after the Blitz. (Picture Sheffield: s02104 )

20 Sheffield Blitz People had many different experiences of the Blitz “Many unfortunate families, loathe to leave their homes, preferred to sleep under gaping holes with the stars for a canopy. Wherever possible it was “business as usual” along Staniforth Road. Comradeship, unselfishness and a wonderful neighbourliness was one outstanding product resulting from the Blitz.” “After the raid, my pal’s mother let us lodge at their house and I remember walking along Bridge Street with all my surviving clothes on one hanger, to get there. This was after a cup of tea at Woodbourne Road School, with an unexploded landmine for company.” “There was the contents of all the shop windows all on the road. I looked up at my flat and saw my leaded windows hanging out with flames belching from every window. I realised with dismay that my cat and budgie must have perished in the fire.” “I used to show off at being turned out of a nice warm bed and then having to try to sleep in the Anderson Shelter. I would shout Mum “Oh leave me here to die – I shan’t feel it!” Then Dad’s voice would ring out and we all had to jump.” “I just sat in the shelter doorway next to a girl who was, like me, frightened. Next thing was a big bang, then it was all hell. All cried for help. The girl next to me died – my foot hurt. There were about 8 of us left. We sang Christmas carols until help came.” “I shall never forget the laughter and applause I got when I carried the landlady’s clothes horse full of her “smalls” down into the shelter and plonked it down in front of her.” “I crawled out and made my way to the doorway just in time to see Atkinson’s roof collapse in flames … all the time there was the ceaseless drone of planes and balloons falling in flames – I dashed up the Moor past Woolworth’s blazing away.” Letters sent to the Star relating to memories of the blitz, 1980 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: Ref SSTF)

21 Sheffield Blitz The map shows where bombs were dropped during both nights of the Blitz. Discussion: Compare the number and location of bombs dropped in the Blitz to the Zeppelin Raid. What are the main differences? Bomb Map Sheffield Local Studies Library: Ref SQ

22 Impact of Blitz Many people lost everything, including their homes. Many had to spend time in rest centres which were specially set up to care for people who had lost their homes. Almost 700 people were killed over the two nights – many more than were killed in Salvation Army mobile canteen after air raids, Rest Centre - Re-clothing at High Storrs School, Sorting household salvage after air raid. (Picture Sheffield (left to right) s01116, s02058 and s0118) Blitz Statistics (Sheffield Local Studies Library: Blitz Education Folder)

23 Summary/Discussion Why did the Germans attack by air? What were the aims of the air raids? Were they the same for both attacks? Think of the different air machines used in both wars – what were the main differences and how effective were they? Compare the aftermath of the Zeppelin Raid and the Blitz Which raid would be considered the more successful by enemy standards?


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