Tuesday, September 07, 2010

First day of London Blitz 70th anniversary and a local tragedy

 70 years ago today nearly 1000 Nazi Germany bombers and fighter aircraft attacked London.  More than 400 Londoners were killed on this first day alone.  There followed 57 consecutive days of bombardment.

During this year's Mayor's Newham show I came across a local history exhibition.  By co-incidence there were two display board recounting a local tragedy that occurred on the 7 September 1940 in the Newham Ward that I represent as a Councillor.  A German bf 109 fighter plane was shot down probably by a British "Hurricane" fighter and crash landed in Ranelagh Road, West Ham, E15 killing 5 people including at least one small child.

The board's explained via diary extracts from neighbour Freddie Burgess (top centre) of the horror of the crash and the dangerous attempt to rescue anyone amongst the burning aviation fuel and exploding ammunition.  There was also a report on the investigation into the crash site by a TV history series in 1996.

32,000 Londoner's were killed during the blitz but it is probably local tragedies such as the deaths in Ranelagh Road that make me stop, think and reflect on the terrible price paid by so many ordinary people to defeat fascism during World War 2.

Update: Check out a special Newham Council exhibition on "Black Saturday" here

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