The Belfast Blitz: Bombs on Bangor, Co. Down

On the night of 15th-16th April 1941, the Luftwaffe attacked Northern Ireland causing deaths in the coastal town of Bangor, Co. Down as well as in Belfast city.

On the night of 15th-16th April 1941, as the Luftwaffe attacked the city of Belfast, fourteen bombs also fell in the coastal town of Bangor, Co. Down. A large number of high-explosive bombs and incendiaries peppered the surrounding countryside. At their family home at 40 Ashley Gardens, Bangor, Co. Down, members of the Grattan family took shelter.

Many residents in the town reinforced the windows of their homes. They made use of wooden panels and reclaimed metal advertising boards from the local railway station. Makeshift shelters comprised of tables pressed against walls and padded with mattresses offered little protection. Matilda Lillian Grattan and daughters Shelgah Grattan and Angeline Grattan died as a result of the bombing. Bombs demolished six houses in the street.

At 5 Hazeldene Gardens in the town, 60-year-old Margaret Byers Watt was the fourth victim of the Luftwaffe attack. Robert Wright would die the following day in a local hospital as a result of injuries sustained at his home at 32 Baylands.

According to the war diary of 13th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, the attack began with flares dropped around 0100hrs. Anecdotes, however, suggest the McKee Clock in the town stopped at 0045hrs as a result of the bombing. Such was the light emitted from the flares, it lit up the town and surrounding areas. Bombers began dropping their payload over the bay, continuing southeast across the town. A large explosion in the bay shattered windows and shrapnel pierced the walls of the Regent Palace Hotel in Queen’s Parade. Throughout the town, houses at Ranfurly Avenue, Knockmore Park, and Farnham Road sustained damage. So too did the local golf club with blasts damaging the fairway and clubhouse.

During the course of the raid, 35 residents of the town sustained injuries. All received treatment at the nearby hospital. At the Carnegie Library, a temporary morgue held the bodies of the four fatalities.

Casualties following the Luftwaffe Raid

The following died as a result of injuries sustained during the Bangor Raid of the Belfast Blitz on 15th-16th April 1941.

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