Posts Tagged ‘Blitz’

The Blitz: why has Hull been ommited from the BBC series?

September 12th, 2015

Anniversary of the Blitz: ‘I thought, I cannot be alive’

Laughably, it was because no suitable local celebrity could be found to guide the BBC cameras around Hull’s proud Victorian civic buildings, her 18th-century Old Town, her vast docks, and her spectacular Gothic parish church with its colossal perpendicular windows (mercifully left unscathed).

This ignores the fact that Hull has a series of brilliant and notable people connected with it – starting with Alan Johnson, the affable MP for Hull and Hessle, and continuing with actors Maureen Lipman and Sir Tom Courtenay, BBC radio luminary Jenni Murray and a raft of groovy musicians: Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals, Everything But the Girl, The Housemartins…

But perhaps it is just as well they didn’t find someone to do it. Because Hull has its own singular character and story which has never relied on celebrities to promote it.

It was named the 2017 City of Culture partly, the judges said, because the force of the city was not delivered via one or two famous people on a red carpet. Hull’s triumphant pitch came from a passionate desire felt by the entire city.

Secondly, Hull has other concerns. Of course the Blitz is acknowledged and respected here. There are still bomb sites in the middle of the town; walking around this morning, I passed one. But right now, the feeling and the mood here is all about the future.

With less than 500 days to go before arrival of the juggernaut that is the £18 million City of Culture, the thrill and excitement is palpable.

Arts institutions are getting ready for a new unveiling, with more than a fresh lick of paint; several are being rebuilt.

Will Hull still exist in 100 years?
Why you should visit Hull – before it’s too late

A spectacular, 365-day programme is being put together, with the partnership of not just local, national and international cultural institutions, but also every child in the city, and 4,000 volunteers.

Let other cities trot out their celebs to play out their war stories, and good luck to them. The nation will soon see that Hull has a different story to tell.

• Rosie Millard is chair of Hull City of Culture 2017


World War Two

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The Blitz: why has Hull been omitted from the BBC series?

September 9th, 2015

Anniversary of the Blitz: ‘I thought, I cannot be alive’

Laughably, it was because no suitable local celebrity could be found to guide the BBC cameras around Hull’s proud Victorian civic buildings, her 18th-century Old Town, her vast docks, and her spectacular Gothic parish church with its colossal perpendicular windows (mercifully left unscathed).

This ignores the fact that Hull has a series of brilliant and notable people connected with it – starting with Alan Johnson, the affable MP for Hull and Hessle, and continuing with actors Maureen Lipman and Sir Tom Courtenay, BBC radio luminary Jenni Murray and a raft of groovy musicians: Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals, Everything But the Girl, The Housemartins…

But perhaps it is just as well they didn’t find someone to do it. Because Hull has its own singular character and story which has never relied on celebrities to promote it.

It was named the 2017 City of Culture partly, the judges said, because the force of the city was not delivered via one or two famous people on a red carpet. Hull’s triumphant pitch came from a passionate desire felt by the entire city.

Secondly, Hull has other concerns. Of course the Blitz is acknowledged and respected here. There are still bomb sites in the middle of the town; walking around this morning, I passed one. But right now, the feeling and the mood here is all about the future.

With less than 500 days to go before arrival of the juggernaut that is the £18 million City of Culture, the thrill and excitement is palpable.

Arts institutions are getting ready for a new unveiling, with more than a fresh lick of paint; several are being rebuilt.

Will Hull still exist in 100 years?
Why you should visit Hull – before it’s too late

A spectacular, 365-day programme is being put together, with the partnership of not just local, national and international cultural institutions, but also every child in the city, and 4,000 volunteers.

Let other cities trot out their celebs to play out their war stories, and good luck to them. The nation will soon see that Hull has a different story to tell.

• Rosie Millard is chair of Hull City of Culture 2017


World War Two

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Hull ‘snubbed’ by BBC Blitz show due to ‘lack of local celebs’

September 8th, 2015

Records show 82 bombing raids on Hull during the height of the carnage, leaving 152,000 homeless. The city was targetted again later in the war by V1 rockets.

Although more bombs fell on London, the devastation was said to be worse in Hull because it was much smaller.

The cities were chosen because of the celebrities’ association with them.

BBC

But the BBC1 decided not to include Hull in this week’s Blitz Cities, which started on Monday, because of the lack of a suitable celebrity to front the programme.

A spokesman said: “To mark the Anniversary of the Blitz, the series sends famous faces on a trip around – and above – their home city to meet the people who lived through the bombing.

Myleene Klass investigates the bombing of Norwich

“As such, the cities were chosen because of the celebrities’ association with them.

“With only five episodes in total, we finally settled on London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and Norwich.

“Although focusing on these particular cities, however, we hope the series as a whole does reflect the country’s experience during these years.”

Shane Ritchie presented the opening segment about the bombing of London while Ricky Tomlinson will highlight Liverpool’s suffering, followed by TV presenter Myleene Klass doing the same for Norwich.

Aerial photograph showing Hull, Hull City FC and the Humber Bridge

Other episodes will feature John Humphrys in Cardiff and actor David Harewood in Birmingham.

But Hull has been forgotten, according to locals who have highlighted the city’s links with celebs such as Tom Courtenay and Maureen Lipman.

For propaganda reasons, Hull was usually referred to in press reports of the bombings as “a northern coastal town” during the war years.

Alan Canvess, 58, secretary of the Hull-based National Civilian World War Two Memorial Trust, said: “Ninety five percent of houses in Hull were damaged in some way. So this has obviously raised the hackles of the people of Hull.

Maureen Lipman for Daily Telegraph Features section. Maureen Lipman, UK actress, picture taken at her home in North London with her dog called 'Diva'.

“We don’t know how the BBC have arrived at the other four towns and thought it might be celebrity led rather than look at the statistics for bombing suffering.

“We obviously feel they should have chosen Hull and thought Tom Courtenay and Maureen Lipman would be very suitable as presenters.

“People are saying it is a disgrace. In many ways it does not surprise us because we have been the forgotten city.”

Not to include Hull is outrageous. They have made a gross error.

National Civilian World War Two Memorial Trust

When asked whether the BBC had done more to damage local morale than the Luftwaffe, he added: “In this particular case they have. Not to include Hull is outrageous. They have made a gross error.”

Alan Brigham, 59, Chairman of Hull People’s Memorial, trying to raise money to build a memorial to civilian bombing victims, said: “We are disgusted.

“Yet again the BBC has yet again totally ignored the fact Hull was the most devastated place in the UK.

“There are countless celebrities from Hull they could have chosen. We have been bombarded with complaints. It is astonishing Coventry has not been included either.”

According to the project’s research, there were 192,660 habitable houses in Hull at the start of the war. Only 5,939 escaped damaged by the end.

Of the 240,000 people, 152,000 were rendered homeless and rehoused by the council. Many went to stay with friends or family, who were not recorded. Some were rendered homeless as many as 13 times. The figures do not include soldiers fighting in the war or evacuees.

More than half the city centre was wiped out. Over 3 million square feet of factory space was obliterated, and 27 churches destroyed, along with14 schools.

Mr Brigham added: “People are really annoyed with the BBC and the companies that make programmes for them.

“Something like this is supposed to commemorate the blitz. In the whole of the commonwealth, only Malta received more devastation.

“It was reported when the governor of Malta came to Hull after the war he was shocked how badly the city had been devastated and said Hull needed a medal as well as Malta.”


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Can Hamas rocket attacks on Israel really be compared to the Blitz?

July 25th, 2014

A building falls during World War II, London (Rex)

The Blitz was launched in September 1940 following the failure of the Luftwaffe to destroy the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain. Wave after wave of German bombers – up to 40,000 sorties were flown – defied British defences to drop 35,000 tons of explosives, including 18,800 tons of high explosives plus incendiaries and parachute bombs.

King George Vi visits a wreckage in Bristol where there had been severe bomb damage, December 1940 (Rex)

Later in the war, as many as 9,000 V1s and 1,000 V2s hit Britain as the German army retreated following the Normandy invasion.

Number of deaths

Three Israeli citizens have been killed and more than a dozen injured in the attacks, while 32 troops have died in the military operation targeting Hamas.

Palestinian’s sit on a building damaged by Israeli bombardment in the Jabalia district of the northern Gaza Strip (Eyevine)

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 746, according to local sources.

During the German wartime campaign on Britain an estimated 40,000 died and 90,000 suffered serious injuries. About 2 million homes were destroyed.

Weapons

The Hamas arsenal has five variants of rockets and missiles. Its basic weapon is the Qassam rocket with a range of less than ten miles but it also has a large stockpile of the 122mm Katyushas which boast a range of up to 30 miles. The introduction of the M-75 and M0302 missiles means Hamas boast offensive weapons with a longer range of up to 100 miles and a much greater explosive impact.

An Israeli 155mm cannon fires a shell toward Gaza Strip at an army deployment area in southern Israel near the border with Gaza (Rex)

Towards the end of the war the German high command authorised attacks using the newly developed V1 and V2 rockets both capable of carrying one ton of high explosive. Between June 1944 and March 1945 the so-called “Hitler’s revenge” weapon killed 8,938 people.

Who are Hamas? In 60 seconds


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