Plaque unveiled to mark start of new Blitz trail

The Lord Mayor meets WW2 re-enactment volunteers at the first Blitz Memorial plaque outside Atkinsons store on the Moor
The Lord Mayor meets WW2 re-enactment volunteers at the first Blitz Memorial plaque outside Atkinsons store on the Moor

SEVENTY one years ago to the day that bombs started raining down in a blitz which destroyed huge swathes of Sheffield, a plaque was unveiled to mark the start of a new trail highlighting key sites hit during Hitler’s raids.

The plaque was unveiled at the entrance to Atkinsons department store on The Moor, which was destroyed in the Luftwaffe blitz during World War Two.

The ceremony formed part of a Sheffield Blitz and 1940s day held on The Moor yesterday, aimed at giving an insight into life in the 1940s when Hitler’s bombers targeted towns and cities up and down the country.

Memorabilia was displayed to offer a glimpse into the way of life in the bygone era. Military vehicles were also on show and actors re-enacted scenes from the past.

An Anderson air raid shelter was also part of the exhibition and air raid sirens sounded to mark the 71st anniversary of the start of the blitz and to create a sense of what life was like during wartime Britain.

German bombing maps showing Hitler’s targets in Sheffield were also on display.

Atkinsons - Sheffield’s oldest independent department store - has been chosen as the starting point of a new educational trail of key landmarks from the Blitz after the original Victorian building was flattened by bombs.

The attack also destroyed most of The Moor, which was not re-built until 1960.

Nearly a fifth of Sheffield, numbering 40,000 residents, were left homeless in the raids in December 1940, with more than 2,000 killed and injured.

Terry Deary, creator of the Horrible Histories series and author of Put Out The Light, set in the Sheffield Blitz, unveiled the plaque.

He also fronted BBC1’s Sheffield -The Forgotten Blitz documentary.

Sandra Barley, liaison manager for The Moor, said: “It’s a real honour to be unveiling the first Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail plaque and to get someone of the calibre of Terry Deary to do the honours is fantastic.”

Author Neil Anderson, who wrote Sheffield’s Date with Hitler: The Story of the Blitz, said: “Despite the weather there was a lot of support for the Blitz and 1940s Day and it was good to see all the children there taking an interest.

“It is important for younger people who do not remember the Blitz to find out about it. The new trail will also really help.”

The first Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail plaque has been paid for by Atkinsons and The Moor Retailers’ Association in partnership with The Star and Brassfounders.

Ten sites have been proposed for the trail so far, including war graves and bomb sites.