19 February 2014

19th February 1944. Raynes Park & Wimbledon bombed. Half of Nelson Hospital gutted, King's College, shops & homes hit

19 Sat. Raw cold, very dull, bitter N. wind. Warning at 12.23 a.m. Several machines came from the north and east and flew about for a very long time. They came under very heavy fire; the local guns firing in this direction made a terrible din; it was almost beyond endurance. A great number of incendiary bombs were dropped; a fee, which did not go off, fell in this road. Merton hall Rd, Quinton (?), Richmond, Chatsworth and other nearby roads got great numbers and many houses were burnt out in Quintin Av. Half the Nelson Hospital was gutted, there being only one death from shock. The upper storey of the Leather Bottle was burnt out. Shops opposite were damaged, Hills cycle shop being burnt out and I think damaged with a small explosive bomb. I went to see the blaze in the early hours also to see if the Childs were safe in Chatsworth Avenue. Incendiaries fell in that Road, one next door to Mrs. Child was put out with Sandbags, Arthur child helping. Several explosive bombs whistled down, one being very loud. All clear at 1.50 a.m. Next afternoon I went to Morden top buy a few things and saw the damage on my way back. A delayed action bomb is in Henfield Rd. A house at the Chase end of Quintin Av. had an He.E. at the back which brought most of it down. At the local warden's post all the dud incendiary bombs were laid out on the grass for public inspection - 190 of them and all failed to go off; there were about half a dozen explosive incendiaries. When Ciss went to work she found H.E.s had fallen on houses at the upper end of the Downs, at King's College School and a house in South Side facing Wimbledon Common was destroyed. Messrs Holloway's offices where Ciss works ere badly blasted and she had to come home again while the place is cleaned up and made serviceable again. A very bad raid and none of the raiders were brought down, but it is claimed three were destroyed by our intruder aircraft as the raiders were about to land on their own airfield. About sixty enemy planes took part and dropped bombs on the eastern counties, the S.E. counties and the greater London area. Immediately after the raid I picked up a piece of shrapnel - it was still warm. 

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