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5 March 2013

5th March 1943: 178 die in shelter crush

"methods of trickery in order to take life"

5 Fri. Sharp white morning frost, becoming less cold; calm and some hazy sunshine in afternoon. To butchers, ham & beef shop, bakers & newsagents in morning. Also to Morden; bought sprats. In afternoon to Morden again, bought biscuits at Woolworth's and lights for Dinky. Albert called to take my cycle wheels to have new wired-edge rims and outer covers fitted bat a cycle shop in Tolworth; Dad enquired there o they have got the job. My rims are for beaded edge wire covers which are now obsolete. Have learnt that during this weeks raid a row of houses was destroyed at Putney, bombs also fell on open ground at Palmer's Green, Putney Vale and the norther boundary of Wimbledon Common. The strange noises during the raid early Thursday morning were made by the dropping of great numbers of 4 lbs in tin cases - hence the tin can sound. They do not explode on impact with the ground but only when moved. I heard many lots come down but none fell locally; they are painted either gun-grey or bright yellow. It seems the Germans are in difficulties and are resorting to methods of trickery in order to take life. During this raid an East End shelter was stampeded and a block of mangled humanity obstructed a staircase. No bombs fell there but the rush cost the lives of 178 people.

"a block of mangled humanity"

There is an account of this disaster here  - a website created by a follower of this blog. It points to an accident rather than any 'stampede' or 'rush'. 

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