READER Berny McLusky sent us a pair of matched 'then and now' images of Hanover Street West, in the Leeman Road area, which show how wounds can heal over time.

The first shows the street during the Second World War, shortly after it had been bombed during the Baedeker Raid of April 29, 1942. The bombs demolished a couple of properties in the middle of a terrace. Some air raid wardens in hard hats seem to be standing guard, while a group of bemused onlookers, including some children, stand around in what looks like a state of some shock.

The gap where the bombed building stood is ragged, the street still filled with a litter of debris and rubble.

Fast forward more than 70 years, and the street today is neat, with cars parked outside most properties. The gap where the bombs landed all those years ago is still there: but it looks as though it was a gap that was designed into the street, rather than a hole that was torn by the violence of war.

Berny, who lives nearby, did some research into what happened in Hanover Street West during the air raid, and found this account in the booklet A Shop On Every Corner, Memories of Leeman Road, by Christine and Duncan Waddington:

"Edward Cook's bakery shop in Hanover Street was a casualty of that night, as was Ashby's shop at number 21.

"The bakery and the family home were at 22 and 23 Hanover Street. The business was run by the family - Edward Cook did the baking, his wife Fanny ran the shop and their son and daughter, Ronald and Kathleen, did the deliveries around the villages in a van. The shop was very popular - Kathleen told the Yorkshire Evening Press that her Dad's vanilla slices were 'gorgeous'. He made his own puff pastry.

"The shop and home took a direct hit and were completely wrecked. The family were safe but had nothing - only their night-clothes. Sadly the shop never re-opened."

We're not quite sure whether the wrecked buildings in these photographs are where the Cook family's bakery and home once stood. Berny believes they are, and that would make perfect sense - except that the Waddingtons specifically say in A Shop On Every Corner that 'flats were built on the site'. There's no sign of flats in Berny's recent photo...

Nevertheless, the photographs between them are a wonderful reminder both of the horrors of that night in April 1942 when the bombs fell - and of the power of time to heal.

This year will see the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. So Berny's photos provide the perfect excuse for us to revisit what has often been described as the 'darkest night in York's recent history' - or rather, the aftermath of it.

It was at 2.42am on April 29, 1942, that an air raid siren sounded in York. Then bombs began to fall: first flares and incendiaries, then almost 70 high explosive bombs. Estimates of casualties vary, but by the time the ‘all clear’ sounded at 4.45 am something like 100 people had been killed, or else so badly injured they died later.

The bombs wreaked havoc on the fabric of York, too. Most of the railway station roof was destroyed, along with the booking hall and records office. The Bar Convent, the Guildhall and Saint Martin’s Church were badly damaged in incendiary fires. And by some estimates, a third of the city’s homes were destroyed or damaged.

We have been digging around in our archives, and found a series of photographs recording the damage done to the Guildhall, to the Railway Station, to St Martin's Church - and to residential streets around York, including Hanover Street, Lavender Grove and Westminster Road.

There were other air raids on York during the course of the war, although that of April 29, 1942, was by far the worst. We know the photographs of the Guildhall, the Railway Station and St Martin's were taken in the aftermath of the Baedeker Raid. There is no date on the photographs showing bomb-damaged streets, however, so it is just possible that they show the aftermath of other raids at different times on York.

But we think that's unlikely. It is much more probable that they do all record the damage caused on that devastating night in the early hours of April 29. Between them, they provide an unforgettable reminder, at the start of this anniversary year, of what happened when the war came home to York.

Stephen Lewis