By Look North reporter Peter Harris
A direct hit by two high explosive bombs on Sunderland's Central Station
The first German bombs fell on the north-east of England 70 years ago.
By the end of the war almost 7,000 civilians in this region were killed or maimed by bombing raids.
In Sunderland, vital ship building city that it was, 273 were killed.
The Luftwaffe knew what they were looking for.
Even before war broke out, they'd built up detailed information mapping out Sunderland's key targets.
The Wearside yards produced a quarter of Britain's merchant shipping at the time and its value to the bombers was obvious.
Major shipyards like Laing's and Austin's were listed on the German Ordnance Survey maps.
Dead, injured, destroyed
Even now, some of the statistics from the city's wartime experience seem astonishing. Ninety per cent of its houses were said to have been damaged and 1,000 were destroyed completely.
Four houses demolished, 146 damaged and ten people killed.
But the only fact that really matters is the scale of the human tragedy that followed.
When the bombers missed their industrial targets, the town centre was hit.
The county borough of Sunderland suffered the biggest loss of life in the North East: 273 civilians died, 389 more were badly injured.
Key landmarks, like the Winter Gardens, were destroyed and incendiary bombs rained down triggering terrifying blazes.
Sunderland wasn't alone. In Easington 36 died, in Seaham it was 51. In fact, 36 people died in Seaham in a single raid in 1943.
Ninety minute blitz
In all, nearly 7,000 civilians were killed or injured as a result of the bombing of the North East.
But those figures can never do justice to the suffering of so many people across this region.
The remains of a home made air raid shelter - two people were killed
They can never tell the story of the horrors inflicted on small towns like Seaham or South Shields, where German bombers laid waste to the market place in a 90 minute blitz in 1941.
Sixty eight died, 12 of them were children.
It's now 70 years since the bombing started and, to many of us today, all this seems so remote it might never have happened.
Yet it's still within living memory and those who witnessed it remember every second as if it was yesterday.
They recall the devastation, the bereaved, the injured, the funerals.
Perhaps those of us who came later should take care to remember it too.
See pictures of the Blitz on Wearside