Search

Poignant service remembers the victims of the Baedeker Raids in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 17:41 29 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:31 30 April 2017

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

In April 1942 Norwich was changed forever when the German Luftwaffe attacked our city with an assault that claimed the lives of more than 200 people and saw many streets reduced to rubble.

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

And todaySaturday, 75 years on, the victims of the Baedeker Raids were remembered in a poignant service held at the Baedeker Gardens in Earlham Cemetery, where more than 100 of those who lost their lives are laid to rest.

Among those who gathered to pay their respects were standard bearers and members of the Norfolk & Norwich Combined Ex-services Association. the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Marion Maxwell, and the Sheriff of Norwich, Richard Marks.

Rev Robert Avery, vicar of St Peter Mancroft Church, led the service.

He spoke of how in the Second World War the total number of civilians killed actually outnumbered the total number of service personnel killed.

NORWICH  2ND WORLD WAR BLITZ, BONDS STORE FROM BER STREET  DATED JUNE 28 1942. PHOTO: LIBRARY. NORWICH 2ND WORLD WAR BLITZ, BONDS STORE FROM BER STREET DATED JUNE 28 1942. PHOTO: LIBRARY.

“Very rightly and properly we focus on those who gave their lives fighting in our armed forces every year, we do that at remembrance time and on other significant anniversary occasions...but it is also very important that we remember those civilians who were killed on occasions like this, 75 years on,” Rev Avery said.

“The sacrifices that they made during a time of war, the contribution that they made to the winning and the giving of peace were no less vital.”

He said that in Norwich 340 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured as a result of bombing raids during the Second World War, and that three quarters of these casualties were due to the Baedeker Raids in April 1942.

He spoke of how the city suffered greatly, with many homes, shops, department stores, churches and other buildings also lost or damaged.

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

He paid tribute to how the spirit of the time and the resilience of the city was “quite remarkable,” before reading from an account of the time by “Ossy” Osbiston, a member of the rescue service, who dealt with the aftermath of a bombing on Chapelfield Gardens.

After the standards were lowered, Stephen Freeman-Pannett, from the Norfolk & Norwich Combined Ex-services Association, laid a wreath and the Lord Mayor laid some flowers before those gathered fell silent in remembrance and prayers concluded the service.

ABOUT THE BAEDEKER RAIDS IN NORWICH

Norwich Blitz. Pictured: Damage near The Black Eagle in Rupert Street by Swain April 1942. Photo: Archant Library. Norwich Blitz. Pictured: Damage near The Black Eagle in Rupert Street by Swain April 1942. Photo: Archant Library.

The Baedeker Raids were named after the tourist guide to Britain which the Germans reputedly used to choose their target cities for the raids.

On Monday, April 27, 1942, for more than two hours, the Luftwaffe pounded Norwich, dropping about 185 heavy bombs, weighing more than 50 tons.

Official records say 162 people were killed and nearly 600 others badly hurt. Hundreds more were left homeless as many streets were reduced to rubble. At almost the same time on the following Wednesday the bombers returned and, according to official figures, 69 people died and nearly 90 people were badly injured. A smaller raid also took place on the Thursday.

Norwich’s main landmarks - the cathedrals, the castle, St Peter Mancroft, City Hall and the Guildhall - miraculously survived the raids, but many homes were lost and public buildings, corner shops, department stores (including Curls) and factories (including Caley’s) were destroyed or damaged along with churches and public houses.

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

The Curls store in Norwich was damaged during the Blitz in 1942. Photo: Archant Library. The Curls store in Norwich was damaged during the Blitz in 1942. Photo: Archant Library.

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. The service was led by Revd Robert Avery. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. The service was led by Revd Robert Avery. Picture: Ian Burt

The wrecked Caley factory in Norwich after the 1942 'Baedeker' raid. Photo: Archant Library . The wrecked Caley factory in Norwich after the 1942 'Baedeker' raid. Photo: Archant Library .

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Pictured is Stephen Freeman. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Pictured is Stephen Freeman. Picture: Ian Burt

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Pictured are the Mayor of Norwich Marion Maxwell and Stephen Freeman. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Pictured are the Mayor of Norwich Marion Maxwell and Stephen Freeman. Picture: Ian Burt

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt A service was held at Earlham Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the Baedeker raids in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest from the EDP

Show Job Lists

Rain

Rain

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Listen to the latest weather forecast