Ambulance duty during the Hull Blitz

The search for survivors after one of the numerous raids on Hull.

The north eastern port of Hull was a frequent target for air raids but suffered one of its worst attacks on the night of the 7th May. Over 300 explosive bombs fell whilst incendiary bombs started around 800 fires. R. Peat wrote a diary of his experiences during the blitz, first as a Boy Scout cycle messenger, then as an assistant at a First Aid post:

The sirens sounded and although I went straight to the First Aid Post the sky was red with fires before I arrived. My name was put on the blackboard to go out with the first ambulance. We could see we were in for a terrible night. The first call came for us to go near the side of the Riverside Quay. On leaving the Post I was told there would be no fire engines available.

I set off at great speed and was joined by my Divisional Officer. As we neared the docks we could hear a bomb getting nearer and nearer but neither of us wanted to be the first to lay down but the decision was made for us by the bomb. The dock was blazing from end to end and we found a public shelter had been hit.

Police Constable No. 902 hung his oil lamp on a tree and took our names. We were told to wear our goggles. The full length of the street was blazing. The ambulances became blocked in the street so it was decided to remove casualties to another public shelter nearby.

On one journey the street was covered in fire bombs and I flung myself in the shelter doorway and others doing so lay on top of me. Looking up I saw for the first time some children on bunks round the side of the walls although they must have known the people we laid on the floor of the shelter they hadn’t made a sound … We were so jammed in the entrance to the shelter the policeman blew his whistle for others to help us. I was then given a message to take to control asking for more rescue parties.

When the road was cleared we took the dead, each with a printed form attached to them, saying where they were found, to Alber Ave Mortuary. The injured, who had been given morphine, and the letter ‘M’ marked on their foreheads to say so, we took to the Western General Hospital on Anlaby Road, and laid them on the floor on their stretchers. They would be seen by a doctor if a bed became available, would be washed, but most were eventually transported by buses fitted out with beds to Driffield or Beverley Base Hospitals…

Heroes of Hull has more details of this raid.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lorraine Eagles August 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Thank you so much for this information. I am trying to find out who the statue is of that stood outside the Cooperative / Costellos, corner of Saville Street .

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