Damage caused by a landmine, Pembroke Road, Mitcham, World War II

Damage caused by a landmine, Pembroke Road, Mitcham, World War II

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Date Photo Taken 1st January 0001
Partial / Incomplete Date c.1940
Area Mitcham
Copyright 1 Autolevels
Picture Reference Mit_​26_​7-15
Original Format Photo
Notes / History The picture is not dated but this damage was probably caused by a landmine that was dropped on Mitcham during the Blitz. A direct hit on Pembroke Road, a cul-de-sac off Baker Lane, can be clearly seen to have received a direct hit on a map published by The Bomb Sight Project. This project has mapped the London WW2 bomb census between 7/10/1940 and 06/06/1941. Previously available only by viewing in the Reading Room at The National Archives, Bomb Sight is now making the maps available to the general public on line. (bombsight.org)

Mitcham sustained heavy damage throughout the war owing to its relative proximity to Croydon Aerodrome. The airfield played an important part in Britain’s wartime defence and came under regular attack as a result. German bombers were forced to fly at great heights in order to dodge anti-aircraft fire. This made it difficult for them to identify their targets accurately. Many bombs dropped wide of the mark or were simply ditched in order to lighten the load of the aircraft before it returned to base.

These landmines, also known as ‘parachute bombs’, were initially German naval mines dropped into the waters around Britain during November 1939. ‘The first intentional use of magnetic mines against land targets was on the night of 16 September 1940, when the mines caused considerable blast damage in built up areas.’ (Imperial War Museum).

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