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We will remember

PUBLISHED: 15:28 06 March 2012

Norwich a Shattered City

Norwich a Shattered City

Archant

It was a time of death and destruction but also a time when heroes emerged from the rumble. A new book is published to mark the 70th anniversary of the Norwich Blitz.

In Norwich, Norfolk, across the country and all over the world there are people who remember… men and women who lived through the Norwich Blitz.

They will never forget the misery and the heartache as the bombs fell from the sky causing death and destruction over two nights towards the end of April in 1942.

But they also speak of how they emerged from the shelters more determined than ever to win the fight for freedom and to make sure the Nazi jackboot never stamped across this land.

They were surrounded by smouldering ruins, gaping holes and piles of rubble – shops, churches, schools, pubs, factories and residential streets had been blown to smithereens.

More than 200 men, women and children had been killed, many more were badly hurt and thousands had lost their homes.

But many of those who survived emerged as heroes who devoted their time and energy to help look after others, often strangers who became friends. People who had lost everything except the clothes they stood up in.

We have seen the photographs of firemen fighting the flames or survivors picking through the rubble of what was once their home.

Now, former Evening News and Eastern Daily Press journalist, and highly respected military historian Steve Snelling has written the most comprehensive and compelling look at life during the Norwich Blitz.

He has spoken to survivors and pays tribute to those who lost their lives – from babies to pensioners – on the nights of the bloody Baedeker Raids.

By reading his book we can all get a real feeling of life in a city under attack and a clearer understanding about why the savage raids took place.

People have opened their scrapbooks and family photograph albums for the first time to share their thoughts and memories of loved ones who died in April of 1942 and also during the raids before and after.

Steve has searched for diaries, letters and reports now held in private and archives to paint a vivid portrait of what it was like to be living in Norwich 70 years ago. Their moving stories combine with photographs, from war photographer George Swain, Archant and private collections, to produce a book, written from the heart, which is a fitting tribute to all those who died in Norwich during some of our darkest days.

A Shattered City: The Story of Hitler’s Blitz on Norwich and Its People 1942, by Steve Snelling, is published by Halsgrove at £19.99.

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