Lest we forget.
It’s been 75 years since Nazi Germany attacked England at its heart. For 267 days between September 1940 and May 1941, the German Luftwaffe bombed 16 British cities in “The Blitz”.
London was hit 71 times, with one sustained campaign running for 57 consecutive nights.
While the campaign continued in other cities for another 10 days, it ended in London on this day 75 years ago with an offensive known as “The Longest Night”.
In all, at least 100 tonnes of high explosives were dropped on England, leaving 40,000 dead. More than 22,000 were killed and 1.5 million left homeless in London alone.
To mark the occasion, Getty Images has put together a series of composite images to show how the city has recovered.
A huge hole in the Strand, where a bomb was dropped during an air raid over central London
It fell near the Gaiety Theatre and the church of St. Mary-le-Strand can be seen in the background.
A view of the British Library beside St Pancras hotel
The Blitz changed the London landscape more than at any time since the Great Fire of 1666.
A view east down the Thames towards smoke rising from fires in Surrey docks, following the first German air raid, September 7, 1940
On the right is the Tower of London, and on the right is Tower Bridge.
A bus leaning against the side of a terrace in Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent
The bus was empty at the time, but 11 people were killed in the houses.
The interior of Westminster Abbey after one German bombing raid
The British fortitude and defiance amidst such chaos gave rise to the term ‘Blitz spirit’.
Londoners sheltering on a platform at Bounds Green tube station
A crater and damaged railings outside Buckingham Palace
The offensive suffered from the lack of a heavy German bomber and a strategy without any specific focus. The port city of Hull suffered most from this – as a highly visible target, 95% of its housing stock was destroyed by German bombers emptying their bays on the return home after failing to find their mark inland.
A wrecked Humber car on Pall Mall
Despite the toll, the offensive was ultimately determined not successful given the duration and effort expended by Germany.
A blaze in the Negretti and Zambra building at Holborn Circus
In one instance where England returned fire, 43,000 citizens of Hamburg were killed in a single night-time offensive in May, 1943.
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