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Mapping the Blitz


Churchill visiting the East End

Today saw the launch of a  new interactive map which shows  the scale of the German aerial assault on London during World War II. The Bomb Sight project showing where individual bombs fell during one of the most intense periods of the Blitz. The map uses information from a ‘bomb census’ between 1/10/1940 and 06/06/1941 .

The Isle of Dogs and docks were a prime target and the data shows that 1259 High Explosive Bombs and 32 parachute mines were dropped on the Tower Hamlets area in this period.

The map is only one part of the site that includes photographs from the Imperial War Museum and oral history from the BBC People’s War archive to give some idea of the terror of the blitz.

Here is an excerpt from the People’s War archive

Our neighbour, Mrs Greenaway, a quiet lady who had a husband who was on a night-shift at the Tate and Lyle sugar factory at Wandsworth, had a very sad experience. One night when he was at the factory, it was hit by a V2 rocket and everyone was killed. As this was a V2 rocket there was no air raid warning and his wife knew absolutely nothing about this until the next morning when she heard some women talking about it in the queue at the local butchers. They said that Tate and Lyle had had a direct hit in the night and she immediately dashed over there on the bus, a distance of about 2 miles, only to find that it had been completely demolished. She staggered about desperately on the rubble until a policeman came over to her and asked her what she was doing. She explained that she was looking for her husband and was told that tragically there were no survivors. She was so helpless and, in utter shock, blindly found her way home. She must have been completely overwrought which resulted in her immediately gassing herself without even stopping to think about it. Her 12 year old daughter Joan discovered her body on returning home from school that day. Sadly when she left for school in the morning, she thought that both her parents were alive. Poor distraught Joan had no alternative but to go and live with her devastated grandparents. This was one of the many tragic statistics of the war. Another one was when I was at school and my art teacher, Mr Carpenter, went home for lunch one day which he did regularly, only to find that his house had been bombed and his wife and young son had been killed. Such was the misery of war.


Kids clearing a bomb area

If you wish to visit the Bombsight Project press here

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