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7 November 2013

8th Nov 1943: Raynes Park fires 6 shots; 81 killed by bomb

8 Mon. Very cool, dull. Aunt Nellie called, bringing two boxes of watercolours and set of draughtsmen & board; gave her some preserves. The enemy plane that dive-bombed to northwards last night, hit a crowded dance hall* with a great loss of life ensuing. The second bomb dropped, some say, fell at Cannon Hill and others Coombe Hill; expect we shall hear later. Cycled to Morden in afternoon; bought fish. Picked the last of the runner beans and had them for dinner. Warning at 10.35 p.m. One machine from S. to N. Only very slight gunfire. Raynes Park guns fired six shots, Wimbledon guns two. Then no more firing. Machine did not return this way. All clear at 11.10 p.m.

Please see the Comments below. Was this the sailor who saved a girl's life?
*Notes: 81 people were killed and 248 injured. This excerpt from  http://hawkley.ctie.org.uk/History/civilian_air_raid_casualties.htm - with acknowledgements to the Wandsworth Historical Society: At 9.02 p.m. a lone aircraft released a single 500 kg Stabo high explosive bomb that hit No. 35 Putney High Street, which is opposite the end of Felsham Road, causing great damage on the east side of the high street including Rego the tailors on the corner of Putney Bridge Road.  It also started a serious fire in Perrings bedding shop opposite, on the corner of Felsham Road.  The Black and White Milk Bar was on the ground floor of No. 35, and upstairs over two shops, including Rego’s, was the ‘Cinderella Dance Club’, at the time a very popular venue in Putney for young people.  In addition to the many casualties in the dance hall and milk bar, there were a number of people killed and injured in the High Street, who had been walking or standing at bus stops.  A total of 81 were killed, 46 females and 35 males, with 248 injured, many of them seriously.  Among the casualties were 18 service personnel killed and 26 injured.  The youngest killed was Edward Henry Smith, aged 14, of 196B Fulham Palace Road.  This air raid brought great grief to many families and to Putney, since nearly two-thirds of the casualties were young people under 23 years of age.
See this link to photo of a grave, of a sailor killed in the Cinderella Dance Club that evening: http://www.pbase.com/image/56683907

3 comments:

  1. On the night of this tragic event, my great aunt was attending the dance in the 'Cinderella dance hall' Just before the bomb hit she was dancing with a young sailor. Her life was saved due to the courageous actions of this young man. He threw himself on top of her, but sadly lost his own life in the process. A truly remarkable man who's actions were probably never acknowledged, except by my aunt & her family.

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  2. Do you know the name of this courageous young sailor?

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  3. In response to these comments, I will post a photo with the original entry and footnote above, the immediate result of a moment's search. I do not of course know whether this was the sailor in question.

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