The Brighton Blitz refers to the bombing of Brighton by the Nazi German Luftwaffe during the second world war. Brighton was attacked from the air on 56 recorded occasions between July 1940 and February 1944. Casualties were 198 killed in the Brighton area, 357 seriously injured and 433 were minor injuries.
To prepare the coastline against possible invasion by German troops the beaches were closed at 5.00pm on 2 July 1940 and were mined and guarded with barbed wire. Both the Palace Pier and West Pier had sections of their decking removed to prevent their use as landing stages. The town was declared no longer to be a "safe area" and 30,000 people were evacuated.
On 14 September 1940 a lone Dornier bomber had become separated from its main group and dropped twenty 100 pound bombs across Edward Street and the Upper Rock Gardens area. Two bombs hit the Odeon cinema in Kemp Town killing four children and two adults along with a further 48 people killed in the surrounding area. This would prove to be the worst raid for casualties inflicted during the war.
At 12.25pm on 25 May 1943 the town was attacked by 25 to 30 German Focke-Wulf 190 aircraft. 22 bombs of 500 kg were dropped and the streets were machine-gunned during the five-minute raid. Fatalities included ten men, twelve women and two children. An additional 58 people were seriously injured and a further 69 people were slightly injured. 150 houses were made uninhabitable and more than 500 people were made homeless. One of the central piers in the 20-metre (65 feet) high London Road railway viaduct was demolished. There was severe damage to railway workshops and rolling stock. This was the worst raid for damage inflicted on the town during the war with 150 homes made uninhabitable and the Black Rock Gasworks was set on fire.
In 1944 Brighton was hit by V-1 flying bombs.