12-29-2010, 11:25 AM #1
WWII: iconic Blitz photo snapped 70 years ago today
Today is the anniversary of one of the greatest photographs of World War II being taken — and of a defining moment in British history.
On the night of December 29, 1940, Daily Mail chief photographer Herbert Mason was firewatching on the roof of the newspaper’s offices between Fleet Street and the Thames.
The Luftwaffe’s blitz on London was at its height: after a brief pause decreed by Hitler on Christmas Day, Goering’s bombers had resumed their almost nightly pounding of the capital.
When darkness fell on December 29, the Heinkel and Dornier planes came again to launch their 125th attack since the campaign began — which inflicted unparalleled devastation on the old City of London.
Barely 30 minutes into the raid, Luftwaffe aircrew counted 54 major fires beneath them; in three hours of early evening bombing, 120 tons of explosive and 22,000 incendiaries fell, inflicting appalling damage.
Hundreds of buildings in the heart of the financial district were set ablaze; eight Christopher Wren churches were destroyed and the 15th-century Guildhall was set on fire.
One bomb landed near the Monument, erected by Wren to commemorate the 1666 Great Fire of London.
More than 160 people died in that night’s raid, including 16 firemen, and 500 were injured.
‘I focused at intervals as the great dome loomed up through the smoke,’ he later said. ‘The glare of many fires and sweeping clouds of smoke kept hiding the shape. Then a wind sprang up. Suddenly, the shining cross, dome and towers stood out like a symbol in the inferno. The scene was unbelievable. In that moment or two, I released my shutter.’
Herbert Mason’s photograph went unpublished for two days while censors considered whether it would serve Britain’s cause.
much more, excellent & lengthy article with many pictures, at
the iconic photo:
12-29-2010, 08:28 PM #2
By the way, a very good book on the topic:
Blitz: The Story of December 29, 1940, by Margaret Gaskin (Harcourt Inc., 2005)
01-01-2011, 03:24 AM #3
Thank you godot.
A WW2 vet ran into me yesterday (literally, he backed into the side of my car, he was okay and no damage done to either car).
He is 95 yrs old.
Thanks for sharing the article!
12-29-2015, 04:40 PM #4
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