The Blitz aerial bombing offensive started on 7 September 1940 in the docks of east London, and ended on 11 May 1941. To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the bombing campaign, IBTimes UK presents composite images showing bombed areas of London during the Blitz, merged with the same scenes today.

Over a period of 267 days, 16 British cities were bombed. The Luftwaffe targeted ports such as Liverpool and Hull and industrial cities such as Birmingham and Coventry. But London bore the brunt of the attacks. Between September and November 1940, around 30,000 bombs were dropped on the capital. Around 28,000 Londoners lost their lives in the bombing raids, and more than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged.

On the afternoon of 7 September 1940, the largest collection of aircraft ever seen crossed the Channel. Almost 1,000 German planes – nearly 350 bombers escorted by more than 600 fighters – laid waste to the docks in east London. Around 450 people were killed in this first attack.

The Blitz London World War Two
7 September 1940: Smoke rises from fires in Surrey docks following the first German air raid of the BlitzKeystone/Hulton Archive/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty

The bombers returned every day for nearly two months, dropping explosives on London for 57 consecutive nights. On 29 December 1940, huge swathes of the city were consumed in a firestorm caused by incendiary bombs. The area between St Paul's Cathedral and the Guildhall was devastated in what has become known as the Second Great Fire of London. Wren's great cathedral, however, was virtually unharmed.

The Blitz London World War Two
9 September 1940: A bus is left leaning against the side of a terrace in Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, in the aftermath of a German bombing raid on London in the first days of the Blitz, The bus was empty at the time, but 11 people were killed in the housesH F Davis/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
14 September 1940: A crater and damaged railings are seen outside Buckingham Palace, after the explosion of a German bomb dropped in an air raid the previous dayCentral Press/Hulton Archive/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
19 September 1940: An area near St Pancras Station, showing the damage caused by a German air raidCentral Press/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
19 September 1940: A police officer and a soldier inspect the aftermath of a German air raid on Portman StreetCentral Press/Hulton Archive/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
15 October 1940: A wrecked Humber car is seen on Pall Mall, after an air raidCentral Press/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
Circa 1940: A huge hole is seen in the Strand, where a bomb was dropped during an air raid. It fell near the Gaiety Theatre. The church of St Mary-le-Strand can be seen in the backgroundCentral Press/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty

During the constant air raids, many Londoners sheltered in the Underground stations, singing songs and playing games to keep their spirits up.The British fortitude and defiance in the face of the endless bombing gave rise to the term 'Blitz spirit'.

The Blitz London World War Two
16 October 1940: Londoners shelter on a platform at Bounds Green tube station during an air raidFox Photos/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
Soldiers help to clear the debris of Bank Underground Station in front of The Royal Exchange on 11 January 1941, the morning after the station received a direct hit, killing an estimated 111 peopleH F Davis/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty

As the war progressed, Nazi Germany turned its attentions to the invasion of Russia, bringing the Blitz to an end. On 10 May 1941, the Luftwaffe mounted one last major bombing raid on London. Bombs fell across the city, killing almost 3,000 people and hitting the Law Courts, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and the House of Commons.

The Blitz London World War Two
Bomb damage is seen after a Luftwaffe air raid on Berkeley Square on 29 April 1941Eric Harlow/Keystone/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
Debris is seen in Leicester Square on 3 May 1941 after German air raidsBert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
May 1941: Flames leap out of the windows of the Negretti and Zambra building at Holborn Circus after a German bombing raidFox Photos/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty
The Blitz London World War Two
May 1941: The interior of Westminster Abbey after a German bombing raidTopical Press Agency/Getty & Jim Dyson/Getty

London's Second World War bomb sites have gone, but the city still bears the scars of the Blitz. Walk around the capital and you may notice a row of Georgian terraced houses interrupted by a modern construction. You can see evidence of rebuilding: brickwork that doesn't quite match. Tower blocks. A huge Brutalist housing and theatre complex. All of this adds to the patchwork of London's architectural styles. Like the Great Fire of London, the Blitz gave London an opportunity to evolve.