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PICTURE SPECIAL: South Shields’ own wartime Blitz

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SOUTH Shields is almost unrecognisable in these pictures, taken after bombing raids.

The series of Second World War images, included on a new DVD, shows crumbled buildings, unexploded bombs lying in the street, men searching through rubble, and the remains of the old Town Hall, in Market Place.

South Tyneside: The Blitz has been created by the Sixtownships Community History Group and is available to all history buffs.

The DVD is also available to schools free of charge.

It charts the time shortly after September 3, 1939, when Britain declared war on Nazi Germany.

The Luftwaffe brought terror to South Tyneside – a key port – wiping out many areas in South Shields.

Gas and water supplies ceased to function and many families were bombed out with nowhere to go.

The people of the borough faced the carnage of war with extraordinary courage and resilience, as did the rest of the country.

The history group’s secretary, John Dawson, said: “This DVD just shows everything that went on during the time of The Blitz.

“It’s shocking to see the destruction that went on and it’s very sad as well because you see how much death there was.

“We’ve got footage from when the Market Place was hit and lots of photographs showing the damage all around South Shields.

“It is quite shocking, but I think it’s something that is important to remember.”

The DVD combines archive footage and still photographs showing how South Tyneside was affected as it reveals the carnage and sadly the loss of life that came with it.

The sounds of the air raid sirens and German bombers can be hear, and bombs can be seen exploding, as fires are tackled by civilian personnel and bodies and the seriously injured are recovered.

It also charts how in the early hours of February 16, 1941 a Heinkel III bomber was hit by gunfire and crashed into Beach Road, in South Shields, killing the German crew.

April 9 and 10, 1941 saw heavy attacks on industrial targets, but houses were also hit in South Shields, followed by a shower of an estimated 6,000 firebombs falling in the Tyne Dock area.

Then on October 2 and 3, 1941, South Shields Market Place and many other surrounding areas were bombed, resulting in 66 deaths.

In the Market Place there were direct hits on the Town Hall and Crofton’s Department Store, Union Alley, King Street and many more areas.

John added: “There is just too much to mention but the content is huge. Look back in time and witness just what happened to South Shields and Sunderland in this very special DVD on the Blitz to South Tyneside.

The DVD is on sale now for £5.99. To order a copy, go to www.sixtownships.org.uk

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki

 

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