Bombs dropped in the ward of: Camberwell Green
Total number of bombs dropped from 7th October 1940 to 6th June 1941 in Camberwell Green:
- High Explosive Bomb
Number of bombs dropped during the week of 7th October 1940 to 14th of October:
Number of bombs dropped during the first 24h of the Blitz:
Memories in Camberwell Green
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Contributed originally by Berylsdad (BBC WW2 People's War)
In those early days of the Blitz, there were many unsung heroes who, by their personal conduct and fervent belief that we could beat the menace of Hitler’s frightfulness, inspired us to carry on and keep London working. So little has been recorded of how this threat to our great city was successfully combated by the ordinary man in the street. As a nation, we are chary of patting ourselves on the back and it is, perhaps, for that reason, that the bravery of so many has been recognised by so few.
Amongst the unsung heroes, there will always remain in my memory a comrade by the name of Edward Bennett of Lyndhurst Way, Camberwell, affectionately known to members of the Bellenden Road Stretcher Party Depot as “Pop”. It was this oft-blitzed depot that the late Vivian Woodward served and Ted Heming learned first-aid and rescue work that was later to help him to win his George Cross. Cambridge University students also did relief work there and, as a tribute to the staff, afterwards entertained our Depot’s cricket team at Cambridge, where Vivian probably played his last cricket match and Ted was included in the team.
Our “Pop” was nearly sixty years of age when he joined the Civil Defence, his duties covering the period of 24 hours on and 24 hours off. But when the Blitz on London started, Pop, like many others, voluntarily became ‘on-call’ on his off-duty nights and therefore available to fill any gap that might occur in the on-duty ranks. This often meant continual work over thirty-six hour periods. During those hectic days and nights, Pop, if not require for any other duty, would take up position in an ordinary unprotected Sentry Box, situated just outside the Depot, and keep fire-watch whilst indulging in a humorous commentary upon the way “Jerry” was “getting it” in the battle raging overhead. Despite many requests from his friends to take advantage of cover, Pop would still carry on. There is no doubt that his humour and sangfroid did much to raise the morale of his team-mates in those early days. One night, when Pop was out at an incident, the Sentry Box was blown to smithereens by a bomb exploding just outside the Depot. But, box or no box, Pop still continued, in his spare moments, to stand in the same position and his lively commentaries remained unabated. His devotion to duty was tremendous and it is due to this fact that we lost an untiring and heroic figure. The responsibility for his passing lies primarily with the dropping of a large enemy bomb, but the chemical deposits in Mother Earth subscribed in a mysterious way to our loss.
On 4th October, 1940, when Pop was officially off-duty, he reported as usual as being available ‘on-call’. After a quiet beginning to that fateful night, Camberwell soon received its usual strafing. Amongst the quota was a heavy HE bomb that dropped in a garden close to our Depot. The action of the bomb was weird in effect, for although it penetrates the earth very deeply, throwing tons of clay into the adjoining streets, and the explosion severely blasted surrounding houses, there was little sign of a crater, the point of impact only being marked by a ring of fire on the surface of the ground that afterwards was recognised by the experts as due to the ignition of subterranean gases. Some minutes elapsed before Headquarters assigned one of our Parties to cover the incident, but Pop, not bound by the necessity of awaiting an official order, had dashed round to the spot to see if his first-aid qualifications were needed. Happily, except for a few slight shock cases, no-one was injured, but a number of women in nearby Anderson shelters were pleading for the flames, that were now reaching considerable proportions, to be extinguished. At that stage of the Blitz, most people, influenced no doubt by the Official Lighting Order, regarded ground lights of any nature as a greater menace to safety than any danger that existed in the battle raging overhead. The first-aid Party sent from our Depot arrived on the scene to find Pop endeavouring to smother the flames with earth. As they approached, they almost immediately felt themselves being drawn as if by magnetic forces towards the spot from which Pop was operating. Flinging themselves to the ground, they just managed to evade being sucked into the centre of the flames. When they picked themselves up some moments later, the fire had partly subsided, but Pop and a valiant helper had vanished, without a cry or any indication of distress, into the bowels of the earth. Despite frenzied digging by his comrades that night and subsequent weeks of endless toil by specialised rescue teams, not a single particle of clothing or equipment or clue to their whereabouts was then or since discovered. The official theory was that Pop and his friend were drawn by suction down to a subterranean stream for, although powerful pumps were employed, water at 20 feet made further excavation work impossible.
But, though Pop vanished beyond our ken, he will ever remain in the hearts of all who served at Bellenden Road, as a very gallant and unsung hero.
C R Mercer
Superintendent, Bellenden Road Stretcher Party Depot
Contributed originally by mrsknight (BBC WW2 People's War)
My mother got engaged on Christmas 1939. She started to collect my 'bottom drawer'. Her fiance got called up in the Army. The first time he had a week's leave they got married. She did all the arrangemtns as he was away.
My grandmother was very disapproving of the idea of a wedding before they had been engaged for two years. She said my mother should have an eternity ring before she had a wedding ring. She just thought this was a delaying tactic because there was no money to put on a wedding.
My grandfather could not afford a new suit, so she suggested he wore his Home Army uniform and anyone with a uniform who came to the wedding should wear theirs too. He was happy with that arrangement.My uncle Arthur ( home from canada) would be his best man and wear his uniform too.
She had a piece of velveteen which she used for the wedding dress. The bridesmaids dresses were made from some pink taffeta she had bought before the war and put away in her 'bottom drawer'.They were made on a hand wound sewing machine in the evenings after my mother got home from work. There were three dresses as she had two sisters and he had one.
The bouguet was bought at a flower shop in New Cross - where my mother had to change trams on her way to work. It was made of paper flowers and real heather.My grandmother had carnations.
The night before the wedding he arrived at his mother's house during an air raid.
On the wedding day there was only one car - it was all my mother could afford. The car went back and forth to the church with relatives and bridesmaids. Her future mother-in-law and 'Uncle Charlie', as he was known,were due to arrive at the house one hour before the wedding and be taken too.
By the time the car was coming back for the last time to fetch my mother and her father there was still no sign of them. They decided they would just have to go on. As they came out the door - there were Mrs Knight and Uncle Charlie just arriving. They were told to make their own way to the church and my mother and her father drove in the car.
After the wedding the main relatives went back to the house. Food was on rations, but there were three tins of salmon. This was very unusual at the time, but my mother had given my grandmother some money for the 'do' and she had shopped far and wide.There was also salad.
The wedding cake was bought at a shop in New Cross. They made a good dark cake. It had two layers.Instead of icing it had rice paper on the top and paper decorations. It was a very good cake and lasted to April the next year for my sister's christening cake.
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