Wartime damage in Richmond Avenue, Merton

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Date Photo Taken 1st January 0001
Area Merton Park
Copyright 1 Imperial War Museum
Picture Reference MerMor_​World_​War_​2-6
Original Format Photo
Notes / History On the night of 19th September 1940 a German plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. It flew low over South Wimbledon and crashed into houses in Richmond Avenue. Only one member of the crew survived, he had bailed out and landed on a roof of a house in Clapham. Different parts of the plane were found between Clapham and Gap Road, Wimbledon.

Ruth Mansergh records in her book, entitled Wimbledon, Merton and Morden at War 1939-45, that ‘Members of the local AFS watched the plane’s descent, and had already set out before it reached the ground. They were on the scene within three minutes. While they worked on the flames wardens marshalled the residents of Richmond Avenue, Quintin Avenue in Merton Park and part of Kingston Road from their homes.' The gunner, Wilhelm Schlake, surrendered and became a POW. The bodies of the other crew members were never found.

Immediately after the crash the parts of the plane that could be collected up were put on display in a shop in Wimbledon, where people paid 6d each to view them. The money was donated to the Mayor’s Spitfire Fund.

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