Sunday 25 June 2017

'The sky went red,' says man who heard bombs fall on Dublin

The emergency services including St John's Ambulance volunteers at work after the North
Strand bombing, which rocked Dublin 75 years ago tomorrow Photo: Caroline Quinn
The emergency services including St John's Ambulance volunteers at work after the North Strand bombing, which rocked Dublin 75 years ago tomorrow Photo: Caroline Quinn
Another view of the North Strand bombing Photo: Caroline Quinn
St John's Ambulance veteran Noel Brady

Alan O'Keeffe

The hero first-aider who cared for victims of the Nazi bombing of Dublin's North Strand 75 years ago has said remembers seeing the sky turn red as a Luftwaffe bomber tore threw the sky.

Noel Brady (96) was a 21-year-old volunteer with the St John's Ambulance Brigade in Dublin when German aircraft dropped four bombs on the city in the early hours of May 31, 1941.

The fourth and final bomb on the North Strand area caused the most devastation.

At least 28 people died in the explosions, while up to 100 people were injured.

Mr Brady remembers working through the night.

"We treated people at the scene. I bandaged a lot of people who were bleeding," he said at his home in Walkinstown, Dublin.

He has remained a member of the St John's Ambulance Brigade in an advisory role, and wore his staff officer's uniform last year when he was awarded a medal marking 75 years of unbroken service with the first aid organisation.

At the outbreak of World War Two, Mr Brady joined the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) service in Dublin. He later transferred to the St John's Ambulance volunteer service.

On the night of the bombing, he was standing with his father at the hall door of their family home on St Ignatius Road in Drumcondra when they heard the droning sound of a Luftwaffe bomber overhead.

"Then I saw flashes in the sky. My father shoved me to the ground and down on top of me he went.

"There was a very loud explosion. We could see the sky was all red when we looked over the rooftops."

A 500lb bomb had fallen in an area between Seville Place and Newcomen Bridge, bringing death and destruction.

Two dozen houses were destroyed and 300 were so badly damaged that they were unfit for habitation.

The first three bombs fell within four minutes of each other at around 12.30am.

The first injured several people in the Ballybough area and destroyed two houses in Summerhill Park.

Bomb number two fell near the zoo in the Phoenix Park and damaged windows at Aras an Uachtarain, but there were no casualties.

The third bomb fell on the North Circular Road near Summerhill, again causing no injuries.

German authorities claimed the attack was the result of a navigational error by an aircrew sent to bomb Belfast.

West Germany paid £344,000 in compensation to the Irish Government in 1958.

Irish Independent

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