Everything you need to know about the Sheffield Blitz – which happened 78 years ago today

On this day in 1940 the German air force – the Luftwaffe – launched a devastating assault on Sheffield, leaving hundreds dead and thousands more injured.

The aerial bombardment which began on the evening of Thursday December 12 saw much of Sheffield city centre destroyed.

High Street was badly damaged in the air raid

High Street was badly damaged in the air raid

During the raid German aircraft dropped more than 10,000 bombs on the city including high explosive bombs and incendiary devices.

Given the codename Operation Crucible by the Germans the air raid began at 7.41pm and lasted for eight hours with the last of the bombs falling at around 4am on Friday December 13.

The first of the bombs fells over the Gleadless and Norton Lees areas of Sheffield but it was the city centre which was to bear the brunt of the onslaught,

Shortly before 11pm a huge bomb destoyed the former C&A building opposite Fitzalan Square. 

Less than an hour later the Marples hotel in Fitzalan Square took a direct hit which led to huge loss of life.

Dozens of people were sheltering in the hotel at the time and although the total death toll will never be known at least 70 bodies were pulled from the rubble.

Other building damaged in the raid of December 12 included Sheffield Cathedral.

Sheffield was left shocked by the raid and although the following two nights saw relative calm the Luftwaffe launched another assault on the city on the night of December 15.

This time it was the steelworks to the east of the city which took the worst of it with a number of factories being hit by incendiary bombs.

During the course of the two nights of the Sheffield Blitz a total of 280 German aircraft took part in the raids.

In total at least 660 people were killed in the Sheffield Blitz with at least 1,500 people injured.

Some 78,000 homes were damaged and 40,000 Sheffielders were made homeless.