World War II Air Raid, Lewisham High Street V1 Incident
Lewisham High Street 28 July 1944 V1 Bomb incident

Details:
The V1 or Doodlebug or Buzz Bomb attacks on London began in June 1944 and lasted until March 1945. In all the London Boroughs Wandsworth took the most hits by V1s followed by Croydon. Lewisham was 3rd with 114 V1 rockets killing 126.

In Lewisham a V-1 rocket exploded in front of the clock tower in Lewisham High Street at 9:41am on Friday 28th July 1944 in the middle of a bustling market. The market stalls lined up outside Mark's and Spencer's Woolworth's and Sainsbury's caught the full force of the blast, which came without warning.

The bomb had detonated on the roof of a surface shelter, which collapsed. Shops were demolished on both sides of the street. Casualties occured in the basement cafe of Woolworths and even on passing buses. This bomb appears to be extremely strong damaging property for 600yds. Dead and injured lay everywhere, as the injured were treated the more seriously injured were taken to the nearby Lewisham Hospital, which itself had been hit days before with 70 injured and 3 killed.

Lewisham High Street c.1960

The less seriously injured were taken to hospitals further away, such as Farnborough Hospital [Kent].

This quickly became one of the worse V1 incident in London with 28 dead at the scene and 83 seriously injured, the final figures were released in September the death toll had risen to 51 [archive records show at least 52 victims, 3 not identified] [Click here for the names of the 52 victims] with 216 injured.

100 shops had been badly damaged and the result was after the war this area of the high street was totally rebuilt on both sides.

Names of those who died:
Click here for a list of those who died in this air raid

Memorial:
Plaque on site of incident

Publications:
Blake, Lewis; Red Alert The Story of South East London At War, 1939 ā€“ 1945. Published by the Author, 1992 pp159-160
Blake, Lewis; Bolts from the Blue, S.E. London and Kent Under Vā€ Rocket Attack, Published by the Author, 1990

Flying Bombs Over England, H.E. Bates, ISBN: 1-872337-04-X / 9781872337043 (UK edition), Froglets Publications Ltd, 1994

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