A HAWKER Hurricane aircraft will be on display in York city centre today, to mark the 72nd anniversary of the Baedeker Raids which destroyed buildings around the city.

The aeroplane will be on display in St Sampson's Square from the Yorkshire Air Museum, along with an accompanying exhibition and re-enactors throughout the week, sharing 'memories' of the so-called York Blitz.

The Baedeker Raids struck York at 2.36am on Tuesday, April 29, 1942, when 40 German Luftwaffe bombers bombed York for more than 90 minutes, with 84 tonnes of incendiary and high explosive bombs hitting the city, largely destroying the medieval Guildhall, St. Martin le Grande Church in Coney Street, Rowntree's North Street Factory, the railway station, and a King’s Cross-bound train carrying soldiers and other service personnel amongst its passengers.

A total of 95 people died, 212 were injured and 579 homes destroyed and in all, about half the homes in the city damaged.

A French Fighter pilot, 23-year-old Yves Mahé, of 253 Squadron RAF Fighter Command, took to the fight in his Hawker Hurricane and destroyed a Heinkel H III bomber, and a JU88.

Ian Reed, Museum director Commented: “It is very fitting that as the City prepares for the Tour de France Grand Départ, our Hawker Hurricane is making this now annual pilgrimage into York to celebrate the day a French airman saved York from what could have been catastrophic damage had the raid continued for much longer. This year, that airman, Yves Mahé will be fully honoured with a plaque to be erected in his memory.”