BBC World Service – News for September 9, 1940 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
September 9, 1940 – News for this day came from London and was about the relentless attacks on London, as wave after wave of German bombers took to assaulting London at night.
The operations being carried out by Bomber Command during the hours of darkness were more inclined to be to the advantage of the Battle for Britain rather than the Battle of Britain. Although in the past many attacks had been made on German airfields, but these were numerous and putting one out of action really had no effect on the efficiency of the Luftwaffe. Fighter Command was doing far more damage to the Luftwaffe than was Bomber Command. British bombers were venturing further inland. As well as bombing Berlin, they were now targeting Hamburg, Bremen and Emden. Overnight a total of 133 bombers crossed into enemy territory to drop bombs on a number of towns and cities regarded as ports where Germany has vital shipping activity. The heaviest raid was by 49 Hampdens on the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hambourg where considerable damage was done. But it was not without loss. Two Wellingtons of 149 Squadron and five Blenheims of were shot down over Boulogne and Ostend, while one Hampden of 61 Squadron was lost over Hambourg.
The after dark attacks continued. By 2000hrs, 250 bombers again came over and attacked the city. Fires were burning around St Pauls and buildings on both sides of Ludgate Hill were ablaze. The area around the Guildhall and the Bank of England suffered considerably, while a women’s hospital suffered many casualties when it was hit. In the East End again bombs fell on the dockland area and a number of nearby residential houses were destroyed including a school which was being used as a temporary shelter to homeless families. Altogether, over 400 people were killed on this nights attacks and 1,400 people were injured. The toll was steadily mounting.
The people of London were now experiencing the heaviest raids of the entire war which was now just a few days over a year old. All the precautions and training by the defense forces were now being put into practice, but at a cost. Police, firemen, civil defense workers, nurses, gas and electricity workers were all now being put to the test.
It was not known at the time, but this was to be the commencement of a fifty-seven day long onslaught by the German bombers on London. They were determined to crush the city and its people. Communal shelters, whether it was the large concrete ones built along the sides of many of London’s streets, Underground Stations, large shelters built underneath departmental stores, were to be the mecca of activity in the nights that followed. Many people made arrangements to meet at the shelter the following night knowing full well that another air raid ‘would be on’.
And that’s what was happening in London, this September 9, 1940 as reported by The BBC Overseas Service.
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