The Manchester Blitz

Manchester Orange Family killed in the Christmas Blitz of 1940


Piccadilly ablaze during the Manchester Blitz 22 December 1940
The Manchester Blitz were the most destructive raids on the city during the Second World War. The German Luftwaffe mounted consecutive attacks on Manchester and Salford on the nights of December 22/23 and 23/24, 1940. Large areas of Manchester, Salford and Stretford were devastated, leaving an estimated 684 people dead and 2,364 wounded.


Hitler recognised Manchester’s importance to the British war economy as a port and industrial centre. After heavy and sustained attacks on Liverpool and Birkenhead, Manchester was targeted for its first major raid of the war, on the night of 22nd/23rd December, 1940. Taking part in the raid were 121 aircraft of Luftflotte 2, and 149 aircraft of Luftflotte 3 – they dropped 272 tons of high explosive and 1,032 canisters of incendiary bombs that were designed to start as many fires as possible. Follow-up waves of bombers then dropped high-explosive bombs into the fires, blasting the city to pieces. Manchester had never before experienced devastation on such a scale. The city's civil defence services were overstretched, as many units had helped in Liverpool the night before. Central areas of the city, as well as Salford and Stretford, were badly damaged, with many fires burning into the next day – thereby guiding the raiders to their target the following night.

In the second attack, on the night of December 23/24, 171 aircraft of Luftflotte 3 dropped another 195 tons of high explosive and 893 canisters of incendiaries.

Of the famous buildings in the centre of Manchester, the following were severely damaged: Free Trade Hall; Victoria Buildings; Rates Office; Cross Street Chapel; Manchester Cathedral; Chetham's Hospital; Masonic Temple; Corn Exchange; St. Anne's Church; City Hall; Smithfield Market and The Gaiety Theatre.  The Manchester Orange Hall on Travis Street was also destroyed during the War.



Bomb Damage at Manchester Cathedral


Salford Blitz

Salford also suffered extensive damage in the bombing, with over 400 fi

res started and over 8,000 homes damaged or destroyed. In total, 215 people were killed and 910 wounded in Salford.

Manchester Orange family killed

Among the casualties in Manchester were the McKee family who were killed on 22 December, and lived at 46 Daisy Bank Road, Longsight.  William McKee was the head of the house and was aged 59, his wife, Alice McKee, was also 59 and their son, William Robert McKee was 28, and his brother Erskine Hardy McKee was 25.  William McKee was an Orangemen, a member of Earl of Roden Loyal Orange Lodge No 184, and his son, William Robert McKee was also an Orangeman.  He had been a member of Oliver Cromwell Loyal Orange Lodge No 903.


 

In 2005 Manchester City Council commissioned a ‘Tree of Remembrance’ in Piccadilly Gardens as a memorial to all the civilian casualties of the Second War World.  The McKee family are remembered on the Tree of Remembrance.







Manchester Orange

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