On the night of the 14th November 1940 the might of the German Luftwaffe released its payload of bombs and explosives on the British city of Coventry. This is an account of that raid seventy years ago to the day.
On the 14th of November 1940 the might of the infamous German Luftwaffe set off from various bases across the European country on route to the English city of Coventry. This city was the intended target as it was at the very heart of England situated as it is in the centre of the country. It was also a highly industrial city manufacturing much of the essential supplies needed by the British forces and their allies during this time of conflict.
The German leader Adolf Hitler had been upset on November 8th when he had to move his intended speech in Munich on the anniversary of his attempted coup in 1923 because British bombers were on route to the city to attack a railway yard at the time of this oration of his. In retaliation of this Hitler sent over 500 of his bombers to Coventry to annihilate the city. Hitler informed his pilots that he was not willing to accept an attack on the Nazi movements capital go unpunished.
The raid resulted in tens of thousands of buildings being destroyed, hundreds of men, women and children were killed and the verb ‘Koventrieren’ entered into the German language. To Coventrate meaning ‘to annihilate or reduce to rubble.’ The bombers unleashed 150,000 incendiary bombs and a further 500 tons of high explosives on the industrial city. For all this he destroyed 27 factories supplying the war effort. 568 people were killed in the attack and over 400 of these were so badly burned they could not be formally identified. The historic Coventry Cathedral of St. Michael was among the estimated 60,000 buildings to be destroyed that night.
Today a modern cathedral is in use marking over 900 years of worship on the site. The modern building sits beside the roofless ruin that remains as a reminder of that night seventy years ago.