HAMPSTEAD during World War Two
Although Hampstead had no military significance for the enemy in WW2, it suffered its own proportion of London's death and destruction.
During the war, 467 high explosive bombs and thousands of incendiary bombs fell on Hampstead causing 1,134 casualties (over 200 fatal), 3000 homeless people, 572 incidents and 13,500 homes were damaged, (7,453 between June 1944 & April 1945), 407 completely destroyed & 2000 seriously damaged.
10,000 citizens enrolled in Civil Defence Services (1937-1945) & thousands registered under the Fire Guard.
During the Munich crisis, civil authorities soon came up to speed.
Gas masks, for example, were provided to every single Hampstead citizen in a matter of days!
THE FIRST RAID ON HAMPSTEAD WAS ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH, 1940.
In the early hours of the Monday morning, two houses in Upper Park Road were destroyed with one death and nine casualties.
Bombs fell close to 38 Parkhill Road and Downside Crescent and in the next few days there were damage and casualties in Adelaide Road.
The Report Centre was getting speedier as bombs were quickly reported from Mill Lane to Sumatra Road and Air Raid Precautions were now becoming more efficient.
Keats Grove and Lambolle Place fell victims to anti-aircraft shells and on the 26th of September, Broadhurst Gardens suffered massively.
The longest raid lasted TEN HOURS and FIFTEEN MINUTES between the 23rd and 24th of September.
In OCTOBER 1940, there were fatalities at Langland Mansions, a parachute mine on North End village and Fordwych Road and Bartram’s School, Haverstock Hill. Glenloch Road, The Town Hall, The Central Library, Finchley Road, Belsize Road, The Convent in Lawn Road, West End Lane and Lymington Road all took fatalities and damage.
In NOVEMBER, 1940 there were 79 missiles and thousands of incendiaries dropped on Hampstead.
In DECEMBER 1940, although there was a slight lull in the raids, the Home Secretary made fire-fighting parties compulsory.
On the 5th of January, 1941, a parachute mine failed to explode near The Windmill pub in Shoot-up Hill and bus passengers had a lucky escape when a bus drove over the parachute!
On March 19th, there was damage in North End way and to Jack Straw's Castle, but fortunately it had closed earlier.
May the 10th, 1941 represented the end of the first phase of bombing, although THIRTEEN high explosive bombs landed at that time but not one of them exploded!
1942 - 1943 saw the prospects of "saturation bombing" and Fire Guard training thus increased.
Eldon Grove and the railway at Savernake Road were bombed and damage was caused to houses in Gascony Avenue when a barrage balloon caught fire at its moorings and dropped onto the houses below.
A new type of bomb, a small anti-personnel bomb (SD2), was now being dropped on Hampstead so there was much training in disposal as this type of bomb had a delayed fuse.
During the year there were casualties and damage at West End Lane, the corner of Dennington Park Road and Agamemnon Road as well as The Marie Curie Hospital in Fitzjohn's Avenue.
Radium in steel cylinders was buried under hospital debris and a special device “the clucking hen” was used to find them, where they were discovered by the Heavy Rescue Party.
A party of 11 men women & children were in flat over a butcher’s shop in West End Lane celebrating an earlier wedding when a bomb hit the building.
The only survivor was the father of the bride-groom who had left the room earlier.