Blitz survivor and graffiti artists bring alive the Coventry Blitz

On 10th November, 60 Year 5 and 6 pupils from Whitley Abbey Primary School in Coventry were captivated by the personal experience of Blitz survivor Alan Hartley. Alan, 91, held their attention as he spoke about his memories of the bombing raids, parachute flares and incendiary bombs on that fateful night in Coventry on 14th November 1940. At the age of 16, Alan was an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Warden. He told how telephone lines were brought down in the Chapelfields and Coundon areas of Coventry by our own anti-aircraft guns, how friends perished trying to extinguish bomb fires, how he was catapulted 20 yards in a bomb blast and then dodged falling shells and bomb craters on his bike to get to the Council House to request an ambulance for his injured colleague.

Alan’s talk was followed by a 2 hour graffiti workshop led by professional graffiti artists from Graffiti.com who, with the children, created two 8 foot by 4 foot murals that will adorn the new school extension at Whitley Abbey Primary.

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The same afternoon, Alan also told his story to over 50 Year 9 students at Barrs Hill School and Community College ahead of graffiti workshops the following day.

Here are some comments from Barrs Hill students:

“It gave me an opportunity to try a style of art I’ve never tried before”

“It’s a very cool artwork”

“I liked the graffiti”

“Awesome”

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These events were part of NDUK’s Lottery funded Peace Anniversaries project. The week’s Blitz events also coincide with the Coventry Peace Festival.