Cardiff Blitz

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Cardiff Docks, shown in pre-1900 photo

The Cardiff Blitz refers to the bombing of Cardiff, Wales during World War II.

At the time, Cardiff Docks was one of the biggest coal ports in the world[1] and, for a few years before World War I, it handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool.[2]

Consequently it was heavily bombed by the Nazi German Luftwaffe due to its industrial importance and was one of the cities affected by the mass civilian evacuation. Llandaff Cathedral, amongst many other civilian buildings caught in the raids, was damaged by the bombing in 1941.[3]

More than 2,100 bombs fell in the Cardiff district in nearly four years until the final air raid in March 1944, during the period of the Operation Steinbock raids on the southern UK. In total 355 were killed and 502 injured.[4]

On the final raid, one of the bombers mistook the Irish Sea for the River Severn and bombed Cork in Ireland.[5]

Bombing raids[edit]

In 1940 Luftwaffe raids occurred on 3 July, 10 July, 12 July and 7 August. Despite the Battle of Britain, in 1941 New Year raids occurred on 2 January, 3 January, 10 January then sustained raids developed on 27 February, through 1 March, 4 March, 12 March, 20 March, 3 April, 12 April, 29 April, 30 April, 4 May, to 11 May.

In 1942 fewer raids occurred but two occurred on 30 June and 2 July. In 1943 some of the last raids occurred on 7 May and 17–18 May, the raid on 17 May believed by the British press to be in retaliation for the Dambusters raid hit the train station, and a 1,200-pound (540 kg) unexploded bomb threatened to stop rail traffic.[6] The bombers used included Dornier Do17 and later Dornier Do 217, Junkers Ju 88 and Messerschmitt Bf 110.

Worst night[edit]

The toll on the night of 2 January 1941 saw 165 people killed and 427 more injured, while nearly 350 homes were destroyed or had to be demolished. Chapels and the nave of Llandaff Cathedral were also damaged.

Western Cardiff was the worst hit area, particularly Canton and Riverside, where 116 people were killed, an estimated 50 of which were killed in one street in Riverside, De Burgh Street. The 10-hour air raid had started at 18:37 and Grangetown was the first area to be hit by 100 German aircraft.[4][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Coal Exchange to 'stock exchange'". BBC News Wales. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  2. ^ "Rhagor, Cardiff - Coal and Shipping Metropolis of the World". Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  3. ^ "History of Llandaff Cathedral". Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  4. ^ a b BBC News | Cardiff's 'worst night' of Blitz remembered 70 years on
  5. ^ Phil Carradice (1 July 2011). "The Cardiff Blitz". BBC Wales. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "obituaries:Major Hugo Jones". daily telegraph. 11 Feb 2011. Retrieved 13 Feb 2011. 
  7. ^ WalesOnline | The day German bombs arrived

External links[edit]