‘Smoke rises in the City of Three Spires, the smouldering remnant of the Nazi hate. Coventry and England will remember and repay’.
From August 1940, Hitler’s Luftwaffe mercilessly and indiscriminately bombed cities and towns in Britain. The historic West Midlands city of Coventry did not escape the carnage as, night after night, high-explosive and incendiary bombs rained down on the hapless production centre of cars, munitions and aero engines.
Today, the iconic shell of Coventry’s once majestic medieval cathedral offers a silent memorial of remembrance to that dreadful night. For the city’s residents of now, it is a poignant echo of a violent and destructive part of their history.
With carefully selected photographs, Gerry van Tonder tells the story of Coventry’s blitz through a series of ‘ghost’ photographs, where historic wartime images are blended with their modern counterpart to create a fascinating window in to Coventry’s past. Also drawing from contemporary press accounts of the Coventry Blitz, this book presents a totally unique comparative insight into the Nazi bombing of Coventry in the Second World War.
About the Author
Born in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, historian and author Gerry van Tonder came to Britain in 1999. Specializing in military history, Gerry has authored Rhodesian Combined Forces Roll of Honour 1966–1981; Book of Remembrance: Rhodesia Native Regiment and Rhodesian African Rifles; North of the Red Line (on the South African border war), and the co-authored definitive Rhodesia Regiment 1899–1981. Gerry presented a copy of the latter to the regiment’s former colonel-in-chief, Her Majesty the Queen. Gerry writes extensively for several Pen & Sword military history series including ‘Cold War 1945–1991’, ‘Military Legacy’ (focusing on the heritage of British cities), ‘Echoes of the Blitz’ and ‘A History of Terror’.
Table of Contents
1 Why Coventry? 14
2 Tools of Destruction 39
3 Prelude: June-September 1940 49
4 Moonlight Sonata 63
5 April 1941 154
6 Rise of the Phoenix 172
About the Author 191