London Underground as AIR RAID Shelters During the BLITZ in Wartime London.
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London Underground as AIR RAID Shelters During the BLITZ in Wartime London.

The London Tube. London Tube Stations as Air Raid Shelters WWII. The Tube as Air Raid Shelters. At the beginning of the warthe official policy had rejected the idea of using the London Undergound (tube) system as a shelter. As well as fearing the development of a ‘deep shelter mentally’ they felt the railways should be kept clear for troop movements. but the citizens of London merely bought a platform ticket and began to camp out on the platforms. Though the tube was dry and insulated from the noise of bombing its safety was sometimes illusary. A high explosive bomb could penetrate 50 feet (over 15m) through solid ground. On 17th September 1940 twenty people died when a small bomb hit Marble Arch subway ripping white tiles from the walls and turning them into deadly projectiles. The worst incident of all time came on the night of 14th October 1940, when some 600 people were sheltering in Balham subway station, some 30 feet beneath Balham high road. When a direct hit burst the water main directly above and flooded the station. Those not killed by the blast and falling rubble were drowned, A similar incident at Bank Station in January 1941 killed 111 people. Perhaps the most tragic incident took place on March 8th 1943. When 1.500 people were being admitted to Bethnel green station to shelter for the night. The sound of Anti Aircraft Rockets, only recently introduced to the air defences, startled the crowd who pushed forward onto the stairs, A woman with a child or bundle in her arms tripped and people began to fall on top of each other. In the resulttant crush 173 people were killed, Other Hazards of sheltering in the tube, though more mundane, were unpleasant, Plagues of mosquitoes descended on the warm bodies of the shelterers, lice crawled from head to head, Alternate hot and cold blasts of wind raced through the tunnels, people walked into the tunnels to relieve themselves and the stench was sometimes overwhelming. Gradually the authorities relented and some 80 stations were officially used as shelters. They did what they could to make them more comfortable, and life underground soon developed its own culture, The Tube housed more than 177.00 people at its peak. Like, Share and Subscribe Thanks.


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