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27 February 2014

24th February 1944: Wimbledon Stadium fire. Time-bomb. Curate & wife killed in Fairlawn Road.

24 Thur. Severe morning frost but the clear sunshine dispelled it by the afternoon; bitter east wind. Warning at 8.45 a.m. Two machines from south to north; the guns almost ignored them. They did not drop anything and they returned safely. All clear at 9.0 a.m. In afternoon along rail path to Wimbledon to buy fish. Returned along Merton Hall Rd and saw a crater in the garden of the Girls' County School; this bomb was dropped on 19th Sat. Also the Chase and contiguous roads are closed because a time bomb dropped in the same raid has been discovered. Last night's great fire was Wimbledon Stadium where dog races are held. Do not know where the others were. Warning at 9.36 p.m. Many machines circling about as usual for the biggest part of an hour amid a hurricane of shells. Heard two objects swish down, the first sounded like a dud shell, but the second was a bomb right enough and it was not far away; heard several other bombs. The fire-engines were out but saw no signs of a blaze. All clear at 10.47 p.m. The first missile heard was a dud A.A. shell, it fell in the back garden of Mr. Johnson, our butcher*. The second swish was three H.E. bombs, two in Lower Morden Lane, the other in Hillcross Avenue. The near bomb I heard come down on Wed night killed a curate and his wife in Fairlawn Road. Also a dud shell wrecked the upper storey of a house in Haynt Walk.
* He lives in Burstow Road.

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