Baedeker raid

February 2011

Stained glass by Harry Stammers, St Martin le Grand, York

The ‘Baedeker raid’ on York was the most destructive bombing raid on the city. It wasn’t the only time York was bombed during the war years, but it’s the most well-known air raid.

Compared to nearby Hull, where my mother lived at the time – or, more famously, London – bombing on York was quite small-scale. Though that would be no comfort to those living through it.

There are many memorials in York reminding us of the impact of the bombing on the lives of ordinary civilians. Also standing as a memorial is the church of St Martin-le-Grand on Coney Street, partly rebuilt after bomb damage. It has a stained glass window representing the church burning that night, a detail of which illustrates this page.

Some of York’s historic buildings were bombed during the raid – notably the Guildhall. The railway was a target – the railway station was badly damaged, and many bombs also landed on schools and homes close to the railway lines – such as Poppleton Road School, which suffered a direct hit. (The line of the rebuilding is still visible in the brickwork.)

For more information see the other pages in this section.

More reports can be found on the website York Air Raids