Samuel Barber- Agnus Dei HD Playlist 88 videos photo St. Paul’s Cathedral 1940 Firebombing
About the photograph: Faure Pavane has Monet paintings
Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, during the Blitz. This cathedral has survived despite being targeted during the Blitz – it was struck by bombs on 10 October 1940 and 17 April 1941. On 12 September 1940 a time-delayed bomb that had struck the cathedral was successfully defused and removed by a bomb disposal detachment of Royal Engineers under the command of Temporary Lieutenant Robert Davies. Had this bomb detonated, it would have totally destroyed the cathedral, as it left a 100-foot (30 m) crater when it was later remotely detonated in a secure location. As a result of this action, Davies was awarded the George Cross, along with Sapper George Cameron Wylie.
On 29 December 1940, the cathedral had another close call when an incendiary bomb became lodged in the lead shell of the dome but fell outwards onto the Stone Gallery and was put out before it could ignite the dome timbers. One of the most iconic images of London during the war was a photograph of St Paul’s taken the same day by photographer Herbert Mason (in this video), from the roof of the Daily Mail in Tudor Street showing the cathedral shrouded in smoke.
Lisa Jardine of Queen Mary, University of London has written:
Wreathed in billowing smoke, amidst the chaos and destruction of war, the pale dome stands proud and glorious – indomitable. At the height of that air-raid, Sir Winston Churchill telephoned the Guildhall to insist that all fire-fighting resources be directed at St Paul’s. The cathedral must be saved, he said, damage to the fabric would sap the morale of the country.