Superb TV programme: The Bombs that changed Britain


Embed from Getty Images
The devastation of South Hallsville School in East Ham, London after a bomb hit it in 1940.

The BBC is to be congratulated on a superb history series currently going out on BBC2 – Blitz: The bombs that changed Britain.

We often think of the wartime blitz and see film footage of mounds of rubble and people trying to find loved ones.

But this TV series goes one step further and very specifically outlines the terrible impact of one bomb (in each of four episodes).

In the first programme, now on BBC iPlayer for the next 28 days, they follow the story of an unexploded bomb which fell on Number 5 Martindale Road, Canning Town in London. Because it was unexploded, the whole area had to be evacuated. This led to 600 people being crammed into nearby South Hallsville School. The idea was that people would be quickly moved from the school out of danger. But due to bureaucratic incompetence and official indifference to the plight of the mainly poor people there, the numbers mushroomed over several nights. Then the inevitable happened and the school was bombed, with horrific and widespread devastation.

The official death toll from the school bombing was 77, but official records recently released show that the government knew, as local people suspected, that the number of dead was far higher.

The programme shows a living relative of one family that was “wiped out” by the school bombing. You see her cry as she reads the contemporaneous Air Raid Warden records of the event. Also, the grandsons of a Daily Herald journalist, Ritchie Calder, talk about the issues which their grandfather uncovered around the official response to the Blitz.

It really brings home to one the horror of war. I thoroughly recommend watching this brilliantly researched and executed series.

Episode 1 can be seen here on BBC iPlayer and Episode 2 will be on BBC 2 tomorrow.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in TV and film.
Advert

5 Comments

  • Sue Sutherland 30th Nov '17 - 2:12pm

    I haven’t seen the programme but I’m struck by the similarities in Paul’s account to the Grenfell Tower disaster. My uncle was an ARP warden in London and described the utter chaos resulting from the bombing so I think bureaucratic incompetence was the order of the day, with, perhaps, rather more of an excuse than the Grenfell fire.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 17th Aug - 1:05am
    Peter Martin - "If the pound is higher, it less expensive to holiday in Benidorm than Blackpool. So people tend to go to Benidorm now...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 17th Aug - 12:09am
    BTW ALDC have updated their twitter feed with revised percentage changes - which is also what Britain Elects is tweeting: "Those changes in percentages should...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 16th Aug - 10:46pm
    Michael1 - OK then. A CIAB - Citizen's immigration advice bureau is a policy I'd like to see. When my wife and I went through...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 16th Aug - 10:28pm
    Peter Watson - It is worth pointing out that although regional visas were hopelessly impractical and would never have survived any brush with reality the...
  • User AvatarRoland 16th Aug - 9:50pm
    @expats Re: "What If? is a big question. We might not know all the details but ANY disruption between the UK and a group to...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 16th Aug - 8:55pm
    On asylum and spouse's visas: @Dave Page @Richard Gadsden Labour home secretaries may have been bad but May was THREE MILLION times worse. I think...