The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

Belfast Blitz Then & Now

Shown here are some photographs which are designed so that you can look at a location as it is now and hopefully see who it was left following the blitz by German bombers.

Please be aware that this is an ongoing project and more pictures will be added.

People were shocked at the extent of the damage whilst the Home Secretary sent a Telegram of Sympathy and Support from London.

The "Carry On Belfast" comment was printed in the Belfast Telegraph Newspaper which itself had suffered during the Bombing.

The building is shown here with considerable damage.

Another photograph of the extensive damage at the front of the Belfast Telegraph Building (From Old Belfast Photographs facebook page)

German Aerial Camera and Aircraft Bomb Sight as used in the Raids

The Camera is shown on the Left with the Bomb Sight on the Right.

This is the Newtownards Road following the Air Raid on the night of 4th / 5th May 1941 (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)


Pims Avenue

Air Raid Precaution Exercise Pims Avenue.

A busy street scene with a large number of A.R.P. Wardens, Medical and Fire Brigade personel taking part in this Air Raid Exercise on 22nd July 1941. A considerable number of spectators can also be seen at the top of the street near the Strand Cinema.

Air Raid Siren

The Second World War Air Raid Siren shown here used to sit on top of a Fire Station however it has been restored and is now on display at the Ulster Aviation Society building at Long Kesh.

Newtownards Road near Townsley Street

The most obvious remaining feature is the large electricity pylon in the background however the old building that can be seen behind the rubble and has 2 chimneys still remains but is obstructed by the newer buildings.

The original picture was taken on 13th July 1941. (From Belfast Telegraph)

Auxiliary Fire Service Fatality During Belfast Blitz

I have deliberately started this section with a picture of the Headstone of a member of the Belfast Fire Brigade who was killed during the Belfast Blitz and is buried at Dundonald.

On the night of 7th/8th April 1941 German Bombers arrived over Belfast and after illuminating the city with Flares they dropped a mixture of both High Explosive and Incendiary Bombs which mainly landed within the Docks area.

One of the largest fires on the night was at the McCue Dick Timber Yard in Duncrue Street and it was while fighting this fire that Archibald (Archie) McDonald and another Auxilliary Fire Service member - Brice Harkness, who was from Cookstown, died.

Both men were killed when a Parachute Mine exploded.

The wording on Archie McDonalds headstone says "Killed by enemy action attending a fire in Belfast Dock Area with Belfast Fire Brigade 8th April 1941"

Brice Harkness is buried in Belfast City Cemetry. He was 25 years old.

Shown above is a Coventry Climax Water Pump being used in North Belfast and the other two photographs show a restored Coventry Climax Water Pump.

Strand Public Elementary School, Strandburn Street.

Westbourne Street

(Old picture from Belfast Telegraph)

(The old photograph here is from Old Belfast Photographs)


Ravenscroft Avenue

Approximately 30 people were killed in an Air raid Shelter in Ravenscroft Avenue which received a direct hit by a bomb. (Old picture from Ulster Museum as shown in "The Blitz" Belfast in the War Years)


Crystal Street junction with Ravenscroft Avenue

It took me a little while to find the correct location for this one but here we have Crystal Street at the junction with Ravenscroft Avenue. (Belfast Telegraph Picture on left as in "Bombs on Belfast") Below is another view of Ravenscroft Avenue and you can see the Air Raid Shelters clearly. (From PRONI)

Avondale Street / Bloomfield Avenue Junction

This is the scene in Avondale Street on 13th July 1941 and as it looks today.

Newtownards Road.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers clearing rubble at Newtownards Road. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)

York Street

The large red bricked building on the right was part of the large Co-Operative store for many years and is now part of a University complex. 

(Old picture from Imperial War Museum)


York Street / Donegal Street

These two photographs of the same building are from the Belfast Telegraph.


York Road

In this picture you can see where the house which was destroyed by bombing has been replaced.

The photographs below were taken at York Road following the raid on the night of 4th / 5th May 1941. (Belfast Telegraph Pictures)

Veryan Gardens

Destruction at Veryan Gardens. All of the housing on the bottom left side of the road was destroyed and has been replaced. (Picture from "The Blitz. Belfast in the War Years)

Whitewell Road

Chichester Street

This is Chichester Street in the City Centre looking towards Donegal Square. In the original picture an Auxiliary Water Main has been laid out in the centre of the roadway to assist in fire fighting. (Old picture from "Bombs on Belfast)

In todays photograph all that remains are the towers of the background building.

Castleton Avenue

Time for a well earned cup of tea.

Castleton Presbyterian Church on York Road

These pictures show how slight changes have been made to the church during restoration after suffering Bomb Damage during a raid. (Old picture from "Bombs on Belfast")

York Street Railway Station

Thankfully the old red bricked Mill complete with tall chimney and the church in the background remain to ensure a good comparison here.

In the lower 2 pictures the building on the left side of the first picture is now on the right side of the second picture. All further evidence of the old railway station has gone from the right of this photograph. (Old pictures from Belfast Telegraph)

York Street / Great Patrick Street

This is the junction of York Street and Great Patrick Street after the Air Raid of the night of 4th / 5th May 1941. (Belfast Telegraph photograph)

Donegal Place

On the left you can see the extent of destruction with a view into the streets behind. In the current picture the building on the left is all that remains. 

(Picture on left from PRONI)


Waring Street / Donegal Street Junction

Easily recognisable location which has the Northern Whig Building on the right. - I would direct your attention to the large new building which has been constructed in the waste ground. (Belfast Telegraph picture on left from "Bombs on Belfast)

This is where the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum is located and I would recommend a visit!

Rosemary Street / Bridge Street from Waring Street

Virtually unrecognisable from the first picture. All that is clearly identifiable is the railing around the Northern Whig building on the left side.

The large old building on the right is the one which is shown in flames in the Rosemary Street / Lower North Street picture below.

Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church. (Belfast telegraph Photographs)

Bridge Street from Lower North Street

Due to the considerable destruction in this area only the Northern Whig building on the left of the pictures remains following the raid. 

The following pictures show the view from the opposite end of the street. (Pictures above from Belfast Telegraph and Google Comparrison)

This is the Belfast Bank at the junction of North Street and Waring Street. It can be seen in the background of the 3 photographs below. This photograph was taken on 22nd September 1942. You can see the "S" Sign directing towards an Air Raid Shelter. (Belfast Telegraph photograph)

Victoria Street / Waring Street

The scene following the Air Raid on the night of 4th / 5th May 1941. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Blythe Street

High Street

This photograph shows High Street as it looked on 24th February 1939 before the bombers flew over. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

The photographs below show the same Street after the Bombers and as it looks now.

The photograph above shows the devastation in High Street as seen from the roof of the Woolworths Building (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Looking across Bridge street towards High Street

The pictures above are looking towards High Street from Victoria Street.

It is easy to see the building I have used in my comparrison photograph.

Below is the view from the other end of High Street, (Belfast Telegraph Photographs)

Sugarhouse Entry

St Annes Cathedral, Donegal Street

Total destruction all around however St Annes Cathedral survived! (Belfast telegraph photograph)

Water Tank at Albert Clock

In front of the Albert Clock can be seen one of the large Water Tanks which could be seen distributed around the City of Belfast to assist in fire fighting following any Bombing Raids.

The same Water Tank from a different angle. (Above pictures from Ulster Folk Museum and Belfast Telegraph as shown in "The Blitz" and "Bombs on Belfast")


Atlantic Avenue junction with Ponsonby Avenue

The houses in Ponsonby Avenue remain however there the destruction took place is now a row of low level shops. (Picture on left from Belfast Telegraph)


Cavehill Castle Bar, Antrim Road

Thankfully the old chimney of "The Phoenix Bar" ramains to assist in locating this position. On looking at the picture I believe one of the Cavehill Castle Bar chimneys remains. (Picture on left from Ulster Museum)

Cliftonville Road

Sorry for the glare in the picture. - The Bomb Crater is on Cliftonville Road with the junction in the background being with Cliftonville Drive. (First picture from B.T. in "Bombs on Belfast")

Antrim Road / Hillman Street

This is the junction of Antrim Road and Hillman Street. The complete destruction gives no comparison to how the same location looks today. (Belfast Telegraph picture)

Antrim Road looking towards Eia Street

(Original photograph on left is from Imperial War Museum.)


Clearing Bomb Damage on Antrim Road

In the photograph above you can clearly see the Parachute of an Aerial Mine which has detonated here. (Imperial War Museum photographs)


Lower North Street

Shandarragh Park

Shandarragh Park off Cavehill Road showing serious damage and as it looks today. (Picture on left from Belfast Telegraph)

Halidays Road

(Belfast Telegraph Picture)

Considerable damage in Halidays Road following the Raid on the night of 15th / 16th April 1941.

Salisbury Avenue Tram Depot

This is how the Tram Depot looked after the Raid on the night of 15th / 16th April 1941. (Belfast Telegraph Picture)

Sunningdale Park

Serious damage to houses in Sunningdale Park however they have been repaired. (Picture from Belfast Telegraph)

Wilton's Funeral Parlour, Crumlin Road

This is Wilton's Fineral Parlour on Crumlin Road which was destroyed during the Blitz. Sadly a number of Black Horses which were kept by the Company died in the Bombing.

My photograph shows the archway which is all that remains.

(The first two photographs are from the excellent ISSUU Glenravel Historical Society)

The Mater Hospital, Crumlin Road on 15th September 1942. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Hughenden Avenue

The picture on the left is from the Belfast Telegraph.

Eglinton Street

A Soldier surveys the damage in Eglinton Public Elementary School which had been used as a Billet by soldiers from 173 Pioneer Company while below shows the devastation in Eglinton Street in May 1941. 

No comparison picture can be taken as Eglinton Street was demolished. (I.W.M.)

Photographs of Soldiers trying to make the most of things and enjoying a Cup of Tea.

(These Photographs above and below are from the Belfast Telegraph and Imperial War Museum)

Children Being Evacuated