RETRO: Last surviving firefighter set to unveil city’s first permanent exhibiton to Sheffield Blitz

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Ninety eight year-old Doug Lightning, is lined up to remember hundreds of people that died in the two nights of the Luftwaffe bombings when he officially opens a lasting legacy to the December 1940 attacks on Sheffield next month.

The last surviving fireman that worked on both nights of the Sheffield Blitz will be joined at the exhibition launch by ‘Sheffield’s Date With Hitler’ author, Neil Anderson, the local writer that started a campaign seven years ago for more to be done to mark the bombings.

The Sheffield Blitz killed and wounded over 2,000 people in December 1940 and made nearly a tenth of the city’s population homeless. The devastating attacks changed the face of the city forever and flattened much of the city centre.

There was hardly a suburb of the city that wasn’t hit on December 12th and 15th.

In November 2015, Neil Anderson – together with project manager Richard Godley and heritage interpreter Bill Bevan - successfully secured £81,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Thanks to National Lottery players, a permant Sheffield Blitz exhibition is set to be the first lasting legacy of the project.

It is set to be unveiled inside Sheffield’s National Emergency Services Museum and will be open to the public from 10am on Saturday, February 18th.

The exhibition will contain scores of rare and original Blitz-related objects and photos, Second World War emergency vehicles, oral history recordings from survivors, film footage as well as the fire brigade’s original map of bomb sites acorss the city. 

Neil Anderson said: “It is truly humbling to see the exhibition taking shape after so many years of hard work and perseverance.

“There has been so little to mark the devastating attacks and their impact on Sheffield. It’s wonderful to see this is now changing.”

This is the first big milestone for the Sheffield Blitz 75th project.

A Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail will form the centre-piece of the two-and-a-half year Heritage Lottery Funded project with up to 12 sites around the city centre ear-marked for the installation of high quality, permanent memorial plaques.

The first part of this is set to be unveiled in the coming months.

The Sheffield Blitz exhibition will be accessible during the normal opening hours of the National Emergency Services Museum. There is an admission charge.

The Sheffield Blitz 75th project has received donations from Peter Stringfellow, Horrible Histories’ creator Terry Deary, The Moor, Atkinsons and scores of individuals.

It also has the backing of Sheffield City Council, The Star, Sheffield College, The National Emergency Services Museum,  Sheffield 50 Plus, Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust and South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum.

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About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

More information on Sheffield Blitz 75th from: https://sheffieldblitz.wordpress.com or follow @SheffieldBlitz75th

More information on the National Emergency Services Museum from: www.emergencymuseum.org.uk