Friday, November 19, 2010

BIRMINGHAM BLITZ - 70th anniversary 19 Nov 2010

On the 19th of November 1940 during World War II, a bombing raid on the BSA factory in Birmingham killed 53 people, and 70 years to the day the tragedy was commemorated by the laying of a wreath on the Small Heath site by Cllr Salma Yaqoob.
In the city centre, the 70th anniversary of the Birmingham Blitz was remembered by an exhibition organized by the Birmingham Air Raids Remembrance Association (BARRA) in the Council House. But first...
The Tree of Life Statue, unveiled on the 8th October 2005, to honour the 2,241 citizens of Birmingham who lost their lives in the Blitz.

 The statue with St Martin's Church in the background.

 The first plaque on the statue bearing the names Abbot to Edwards...

 ...and below, an explanatory plaque.

 The second plaque bears the names Edwards to Langford...

...and below that another plaque bearing additional names. 

 The third plaque bearing the names Langley to Rusell...

 The fourth plaque bears the names Russell to Yorke...

...and below another plaque of additional names. 

Just inside the entrance to the Council House, two BSA machines in immaculate condition 

Visitors viewing the exhibits in the Banqueting Suite. 

 Old photographs and documents of the Auxiliary Fire Service and the National Fire Service on a stall provided by the West Midlands Fire Service.

 At the West Midlands Fire service stall, I am shown the brass nozzle of one of the fire-hoses. This weighed in at about 10lb. Add to this the weight of the hose (I believe about another 10lb per yard length) and the weight of the water passing through, plus the recoil as the water was ejected.. and you can see why it took 2 people to use, one to point the hose and the other to steady the first.

 A variety of WWII memorabilia provided by a member of the Ambulance Service. Behind the 2 bed-pans on the right, you can see what appears to be an urn with a spout. This was filled with steaming water and Friar's Balsam and was an early inhaler.

 A BSA stall showing books and photographs, as well as a rather heavy piece of hardware.

This Besa gun was designed to be fired from an armoured vehicle. On the right above is a photograph of the old BSA factory. In the top right hand corner you can just see BSA-made bicycles. 

 Part of the BARRA display.

A model of an Anderson Shelter with an explanatory article. The inside of the shelter was perfectly scaled and illuminated to show a typical layout. 

 A close-up of some of the medals on display, the Italy Star, the Africa Star and the Pacific Star.

As I walked out through the doors of the Council House, I smiled at the irony of having the German Christmas market just outside.