Bomb Damage to Wimbledon Tyre Company
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|Date Photo Taken||7th October 1940|
|Copyright 1||News Chronicle|
|Notes / History||Wimbledon Tyre Company was situated on the corner of Kingston Road and Montague Road. It took a direct hit during a raid late in the afternoon of the 16th of August 1940 in the early days of the Blitz. The bomb started a fire in piles of rubber tyres which killed 7 people and produced heavy clouds of black smoke throughout the neighbourhood.
The Blitz was a prolonged bombing campaign by the Germans on British air defences that began towards the end of the Battle of Britain and lasted until May 1941. Towns and cities across Britain were targeted and London was hit particularly hard. On September 7th 1940 around 950 German aircraft attacked London. It was the first and last mass daylight raid on the capital but it was followed by 57 consecutive nights of bombing. By the time the Blitz ended some 43,000 had been killed and over a million properties damaged.
German attacks on Mitcham were numerous even in the weeks before 7th September. The bomb on the Tyre Company was just one of a number of bombs that fell on Merton that August afternoon. Within a matter of minutes 14 people had been killed and 59 injured. The bombs, which weighed about 50kg each, fell roughly along the line of Merton High Street and the Kingston Road. Several properties were demolished and many badly damaged ('Safe as Houses: Wimbledon at War 1939-1945' by Norman Plastow).
In total 692 high explosive bombs were dropped in Merton during the 8 months of the Blitz.