The British government appeals to Éamon de Valera for help and he authorises fire brigades from Dublin, Dundalk, Drogheda and Dún Laoghaire to give assistance.
On the evening of the Monday 7 April 1941, Fifteen German bombers believed to have been from the Kampfgruppe 26 path finder’s left their airfield in Northern Holland near the town of Soesterberg. Their primary target was Dumbarton Scotland with secondary targets being Liverpool or Newcastle weather conditions permitting. However the targets allocated were not accessible and they diverted to Belfast.
They arrived over Belfast dropping their pay load from 7000 feet with accuracy on the Belfast docks area with hits on Harland and Wolff as well as Pollock Dock and an aircraft construction shed at Shorts. The pay load consisted of 2lb incendiary bombs, high explosive and parachute mines. A dozen people were killed on that first air raid from Axis Bombing.
Two of those killed that night were known to be members of the part-time Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS). Six others were killed when a building collapsed. One other person lost their life that night which brought the total to 13, it was that of a soldier who was manning an Anti-Aircraft gun when it misfired exploding killing him and wounding others at the Balmoral Show Grounds. It was believed that the RAF shot down 1 German Heinkell Bomber over Downpatrick.
The German pilots remarked on their return on how undefended the City of Belfast had been.
Image: Belfast mural depicting the Blitz, Percy Street