In times of war

This time last year I was posting the story of the creation of the ‘Corps of Commissionaires’  by Captain Sir Edward Walter KCB in 1859 – the first to find an effective way to provide jobs for ex-servicemen who were willing and able, despite having wounds of conflict, to work on their return after the Crimean War.

For this time this year I want to look at events of 13th February 1945 when the first of 773 British Avro Lancaster bombers released bombs over the German city of Dresden.  In total it is recorded that over 2,500 tons of explosives – two thirds of which were incendiary fire-bombs – were dropped.  It is said that around 90% of the 28,000 inner-city houses were destroyed.  These included 22 hospitals.

Dresden has experienced dramatic changes since the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s. The city still bears many wounds from the boming raids of 1945, but it has undergone significant reconstruction in recent decades.  Today Dresden, the capital of the eastern German state of Saxony, is distinguished by the celebrated art museums and classic architecture of its reconstructed old town. Completed in 1743 and rebuilt after the World War attacksWWII, the baroque church Frauenkirche is famed for its grand dome. The Versailles-inspired Zwinger palace houses museums including Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, exhibiting masterpieces of art like Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna.”

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