I was in Hamburg recently, and managed to pop into the wonderfully light and airy St Michael’s Church. The inside reminded me a bit of St Martin-in-the-fields in London. Originally constructed in 1647, it was destroyed by fire 103 years later after being struck by lightning.
It was rebuilt, but in 1906 it was burned down again, this time while building work was going on. Then it was severely damaged by Allied bombing during World War Two.
In July 1943, Hamburg was hit by what was then the most devastating raid of the war. The RAF started a firestorm which reduced eight square miles of the city to blackened ruins. About 42,000 people were killed, and Hitler’s minister for war production, Albert Speer, told the Fuehrer that if another three or four cities were bombed like that, it would mean ‘the end of the war’.
* Here’s a new review of my book Disaster! ‘as much fun as any horror film’ – I take that as a compliment.
And this is me on the tv in the 1970’s:-