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Hullwebs History of Hull


May 1941 Raids


On 7th May 1941, following around seven hours of warnings the previous night, the sirens sounded at 11.16pm and the first high explosive (HE) bomb fell on Cleveland Street. This was the start of the two raids of the 7th/8th & 8th/9th during which more than 300 he bombs, parachute mines and 'G' bombs were dropped. 40 bombs failed to explode but remained a problem for some time after the raid.

A variety of incendiaries fell, oil bombs to flares, numbering in the thousands.

2,600 wardens, 130 rescue parties (1,500 personnel), and 600 Casualty Service staff help with the rescue of over 700 persons. The fire service dealt with over 800 fires. The city centre; Jameson Street, King Edward Street and Prospect Street were to become a mass of flames with almost all of the large stores, hotels, restaurants and numerous smaller shops being totally destroyed. The Guildhall & City hall both received damage.

Industrial plants in all parts of the city suffered damage, wholesale and retail markets were destroyed along with warehouses and offices. The Riverside Quay was gutted along its whole length and blazing timber stacks sent sparks high into the air only to fall on and ignite even more properties.

Ranks Flour Mill was put out of action, 3,000 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged, 9,000 had doors and/or windows torn out of their frames and another 50,000 suffered minor blast or shrapnel damage.

The telephone department had to deal with 14,000 faults - hindered by their administrative offices being destroyed. A main cable of some 2,000 pairs of wires was destroyed. A direct hit on the Corporation bus depot destroyed numerous vehicles leaving nothing more than a shell of twisted metal. The supply of coal-gas failed with 200 mains having been hit and the electricity department had to deal with over 6,000 faults. The general supply of electricity was, however, maintained except around the immediate areas of bomb impact.

Several railway lines were hit and many of Hull's suburban services put out of action.

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