Friday, 17 September 2010

17/18 September 1940: The London Underground on this day 70 years ago

Eleventh day/night of the London Blitz.

High Barnet station was closed on Tuesday 17 September 1940 due to a Delayed Action bomb (DA) in the sidings, while another outside Baker Street station closed it except for interchange traffic.[1]

Regent's Park station on the Bakerloo line closed at 14:35 due to the risk of flooding.[1]

Over the course of the night, the Metropolitan/Hammersmith & City line's Bow Road Goods Yard (Arnold Road, Bromley) was hit with multiple High Explosive (HE) bombs, rendering some of the track unusable.[2] At 01:40 on the 18th, a bomb breached the tunnel between Great Portland Street and Baker Street station, landing by the track, but failed to explode.[2]

At 21:35, the Hammersmith & City line Wood Lane station was hit by Incendiary Bombs.[3] At the same time, a DA was reported on the track between Shepherd's Bush (now Shepherd's Bush Market) and Latimer Road stations, and another in the vicinity of the Shepherd's Bush sub-station. Services were suspended between Hammersmith and Ladbroke Grove.[4]

At 21:55, the nearby Central line Wood Lane Depot was hit by a HE bomb or bombs, damaging the Yard Master's office and the Trainmen's Room, as well as the high-tension cable from Lots Road power station. A signalman, a lineman, and a clerk were hospitalised.[3] Also on the Central line, bombs hitting the road outside Marble Arch station at 23:55 wrecked the subway, and severly damaged the ticket hall.[3] The Central line as a whole was shut down at 22:10.[4]

The Marble Arch incident raises questions in relation to the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which show one fatality - Abraham Rothberg (29), of Bethnal Green - "at Marble Arch Subway," with a second person - Dorothy Esther Jessie Bennett (19), or London, WC2 - dying in hospital on 22 September having been, "injured 18 September 1940, at Marble Arch Subway." The latter dating of the 18th rather than the 17th can easily be explained by the incident ocurring so close to midnight. In addition, however, the CWGC records fourteen other people - nine men and five women - being killed, "at Marble Arch Subway," on 16 September, a date on which there is no damage to the station recorded. It is possible that that they died in the pedestrian subway under Park Lane near to the Marble Arch itself, and that the subsequent casualties at the Underground station were linked in error ("subway" is used to describe pedestrian tunnels in the UK, but rarely Underground stations).

At 01:45 on the 18th, DAs breached the Circle line at Baker Street, damaging the track, but repairs were effected by 06:00.[3] In the meanwime services between Finchley Road and Baker Street, and Baker Street and Kings Cross, were suspended.[4]

The Metropolitan line bridge over Uxbridge Road, Sherpherd's Bush, was reported unsafe due to HEs at 04:45.[5]

At 08:00 on the 18th, the following exceptions to normal working were reported:
District line
Parsons Green to High Street Kensington - UXB at West Brompton, difficult to reach.
No electric servide from Mansion House beyond Bromley.
LMS steam service operating.

Metropolitan line
No service Finchley Road to Moorgate (UXB near Baker Street), Edgware Road to Baker Street, Hammersmith to Latimer Road [Hammersmith & City].
East London Line closed.
Widened line open for freight.

Central line
Entirely closed - damage to Shepherds Bush sub-station and Marble Arch Station.

Northern line
No service Totteridge to High Barnet.[6]
[1] Railway Executive Committee: Files: Form RWD1, 06:00-18:00 17/09/40, sheet 1 [Kew: National Archives, reference AN 2/1104]
[2] Ministry of Home Security, Key Points Intelligence Directorate: Reports and Papers, Daily Reports - September 1940: Damage Appreciation 17-18/09/40, page 3 [Kew: National Archives, reference HO 201/2]
[3]Railway Executive Committee: Files: Form D2, 18:00 17/09/40 to 06:00 18/09/40, sheet 2 [Kew: National Archives, reference AN 2/1104]
[4]Railway Executive Committee: Files: Form RWD2, 18:00 17/09/40 to 06:00 18/09/40, sheet 2 [Kew: National Archives, reference AN 2/1104]
[5] Ministry of Home Security, Key Points Intelligence Directorate: Reports and Papers, Daily Reports - September 1940: Damage Appreciation 17-18/09/40, page 4 [Kew: National Archives, reference HO 201/2]
[6] Ministry of Home Security, Key Points Intelligence Directorate: Reports and Papers, Daily Reports - September 1940: Railway Situation Report at 08:00 18/09/40, page 1 [Kew: National Archives, reference HO 201/2]


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1 Comments:

Blogger Charlotte Farrow said...

Hello,

I am a relation to Dorothy Esther Jessie Bennett (she was my nans sister)
I am wondering if you have any additional information as to what happened that night.
My nan was 4 when Dorothy died and would like to more know about what happened to her.

Many thanks,
Charlotte

12 January 2017 at 18:23  

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