NOV 00] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL NEWS
Coventry Remembers Its Darkest Hour
poem written by a nine-year-old girl shortly after bombs rained on
Coventry in 1940 provided an emotional return to the past today as
the city remembered those who died in the Blitz.
raid sirens as Broadgate was brought to a standstill to recall the
60th anniversary of the bombing of the city – the first in the
second world war to be blitzed.
THE CEREMONY IN
BROADGATE FROM THE CWN WEBCAM
from the 1940s sang by the City of Coventry Children's Choir
filled the air as the Lord Mayor, Cllr Sheila Collins led the
remembrance of the thousands of civilians who perished in the
evening attack that destroyed much of the city centre, including
shock to the civilian population was immense, and King George VI
wept openly as he visited the smoking ruins the next day.
intense were the fires, which killed dozens of firefighters, that
daylight did not happen the following day as smoke filled the air.
from the West Midlands fire service formed a guard of honour for a
civic parade of councillors, the bishop of Coventry and
dignitaries from bombed German cities, and they also lay a wreath
commemorating their fallen colleagues.
CLEARING THE RUBBLE AFTER THE RAID
from Potters Green Primary School read an evocative poem about the
city’s destruction. Called The Heart of an Age-Old City, it was
written by Pamela Rayner, nee Ross, a nine-year-old living in
Coventry at the time, just after the air raid.
heart of an age-old city,
Was burnt to an empty shell:
But it isn’t the bricks and mortar,
That will live in the end to tell:
the life, and the love and laughter,
That were lost on that terrible night,
When the vault of the sky was flaming red
With the burning city’s light.
the City will rise from the ruins,
As the Phoenix rose from its nest,
The people will help with the building,
And God will do the rest
the life and the life and the laughter,
Will rise with the wall and the seeds,
For never a life God loses
Never a laughs but He heeds
the garden will prosper and flourish
And the life, love and laughter go on,
When the smouldering ruins are finished,
And the twisted girders are gone.
before a two minutes’ silence Cllr Collins said she could
remember the haunting sound of the sirens as she sat in an
air-raid shelter with her sister and parents, and under the stairs
before her family had an Anderson shelter.
this night 60 years ago Coventry suffered loss of loved ones and
destruction of our most precious buildings.
cannot pass without reflecting on the city’s darkest hours
that were to follow."
said that she was proud of the fact that Coventry has more twin
cities than any other in the world.
centre of Coventry, a busy, industrial town, was largely
destroyed by fire and bombs.
a few years other cities throughout Europe, like Dresden and
Volgograd, suffered similar experiences.
out of this similar destruction grew comradeship and an
awareness of the effects of war. To these cities Coventry held
out its hand of friendship.”