Inspection of Home Guard, Mitcham
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|Date Photo Taken||21st September 1962|
|Copyright 1||Mitcham Public Library|
|Notes / History||Colonel S.W. Barber, Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, inspects the veterans of Mitcham Home Guard at the unveiling of the memorial plaque at the Tower Creameries in 1962.
The plaque, at the newly rebuilt creamery, commemorates 15 members of "B" Company, 57th Surrey Home Guard (Mitcham) killed when a German parachute mine hit the old creamery building near Mitcham Common on 16th April 1941.
The incident report by the ARP regional officer at the time recalls that, at 2238 on 16th April 1941, the Tower Creameries factory ‘received a direct hit by a parachute mine and was completely demolished and gutted by fire. No work was in progress at the time but unfortunately a Home Guard detachment composed of employees was on duty in the building, and it is feared that many of them, together with some firewatchers, lost their lives ….. The building caught fire after the explosion, the margarine burning furiously and the intense heat, added to which were ammonia fumes from the plant, caused much distress and exhaustion to members of the A.R.P.’
The incident report continues: 'Ten separate incidents were reported on the night of 16th April in a raid that lasted from 2200 hours to 0500 hours and the ARP services were at times fully extended. At 0230 seven HE bombs fell in the area bounded by Park Avenue and Hill Road, Mitcham. Twenty houses were demolished a further 50 were badly damaged. Nine people, including the local ARP Post Warden, were killed and 17 injured' (National Archives ref HO 186/2410)