They were arguably the two darkest nights in the history of Sheffield and our residents have been re-living them to ensure their experiences are never forgotten.
Local author Neil Anderson is collecting stories for an 80th anniversary edition of his best-selling ‘Sheffield’s Date With Hitler’ book.
Residents of Broomgrove Nursing Home didn’t even let lockdown get in the way of re-telling their stories – they used Skype.
Resident Ernest Barron, a former director of SWFC, was living in Wadsley Bridge at the time and vividly remembers the devastation following the first night of the Sheffield Blitz of December 1940.
He said: “I still remember walking up Snig Hill and Angel Street and seeing the devastation. The Marples building had been flattened in Fitzalan Square killing scores of people. Walsh’s department store had been destroyed – only cast iron girders remained erect. The Empire Theatre had a bomb crater on fire outside and it was nothing but devastation on the Moor. I will never forget memory of seeing the body of a man laid on Ecclesall Road.”
The Sheffield Blitz killed and wounded over 2,000 people and made a tenth of the city homeless. It took the city years to recover.
Fellow Broomgrove resident Hugh Bradbury recalls hearing the anti-aircraft fire springing into life. He knew the attack was no false alarm. He was 10-years-old at the time. He watched the stricken city burning from his bedroom in Ecclesfield and knew of two people that lost their lives.
Donna Pierpoint, manager of Broomgrove Nursing Home, said: “Our residents have lived such long and amazing lives and it’s great when their incredible knowledge can be used in this way. They were only too pleased to get involved.”
The new edition of ‘Sheffield’s Date With Hitler’ will be out to mark the 80thanniversary of the attacks and be published in the autumn.