Hurricane in York city centre

York Press: The Hurricane in St Sampson's Square The Hurricane in St Sampson's Square

A HURRICANE landed in York city centre today.

The Yorkshire Air Museum’s Hawker Hurricane aircraft was in St Sampson's Square to mark the 72nd anniversary of the Baedeker Raids.

Often referred to as the York Blitz, the raid took place on Tuesday, April 29 1942 when 40 German Luftwaffe bombers attacked the city for more than 90 minutes with 84 tonnes of incendiary and high explosive bombs.

The medieval Guildhall was largely destroyed, along with St Martin le Grande Church in Coney Street, the Rowntree’s North Street Factory and the railway station. In total, 95 people died, 212 were injured and 579 homes destroyed.

The intervention of a lone French Fighter pilot, 23-year-old Yves Mahé, prevented any further damage, shooting down one plane before the bombers could hit their prime target – Rowntrees main factory which was manufacturing ammunition filled with high explosive.

In 1940, Yves stole a plane and escaped occupied France to join the Royal Air Force. He died in 1962, aged just 42, while serving in the French Air Force.

Ian Reed, Museum Director said: “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. This year, that airman will be fully honoured with a plaque to be erected in his memory.”

The aircraft, with an accompanying exhibition, will be in place till Sunday, May 4.

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