Yesterday evening Luke spoke to Laura Horton, Plymouth’s Laureate of Words, as part of the PlymouthBlitz80 anniversary. Laura was invited to read her short story ‘Roll out Plymouth’ via Facebook live, in which she retold the devastating damage done to Plymouth during bombing raids.
Luke commented that Plymouth was ‘forever changed’ by the Blitz, which claimed the lives of 1,174 people in the city. Plymouth was the second most heavily bombed city behind London during World War Two, with the heaviest period of bombing occurring between March and April 1941. 18,389 homes in the city were damaged and 3,754 destroyed entirely, with more than four thousand civilians injured across the course of the war. The Plymouth air raid sirens sounded 602 times.
The PlymouthBlitz80 campaign is seeking to remember and retell the stories of those who suffered so badly during the sustained bombing campaign. A programme of special events is running across the city throughout April. Laura’s moving words will be read out at future commemoration services, including the upcoming anniversary church service in Saltash. Plymouth City Council’s website contains a full itinerary and more information on each event, which you can access here. When discussing commemoration events on social media, use the hashtag #PlymouthBlitz80.
‘I’d like to thank Laura for offering a very personal take on what must have been a truly awful experience.’
‘It is absolutely vital that we commemorate the Plymouth Blitz and remember the suffering and the sacrifices made during the war. Stories like Laura’s help to remind us of the horrors of war, but also of the intense strength and resilience shown by people in our city.’
Laura’s reading was followed by a response from Councillor Chris Penberthy, representing the city centre and waterfront, who himself lost a relative in the Blitz.
The video, including Laura’s poignant short story, is available to watch and share here.