Eaton Square SW1

11 May 1941

By Caitlin Fritch

At around 12.30am, 11 May 1941, the trench shelter in Eaton Square SW1 was hit by a high explosive bomb. Eaton Square, built in 1827, had been previously damaged on 17 April 1941 when bombs had hit St Peter's Church and killed its vicar. The explosion – opposite numbers 40-48 - blew a deep hole in the garden square, which was being used for wartime vegetable allotments. Luckily, the bomb missed the main part of the shelter - in which 22 people were gathered. By 4.30 am, City of Westminster message forms recorded that soldiers billeted nearby had taken at least three casualties out of the trench. These were taken to hospital; the rest were reported as uninjured. Rescue workers quickly moved the survivors to safety and later called a doctor to treat an infant suffering from shock. This child and its aunt were taken to St. George’s Hospital. By 6am, Westminster Civil Defence records indicated that seven people had been rescued from the Eaton Square trench, with one other taken to hospital. Updated reports later suggested a total of eleven casualties in Eaton Square. Two were subsequently confirmed as fatalities including the Mayor of Westminster – Councillor L.Eaton Smith - who was completing a round of night visits to Westminster shelters at the time.

At 12.55am a second high explosive bomb fell on nearby Eaton Terrace, badly damaging numbers 103, 105 and 107. Water and coal gas mains were ruptured, fire broke out and additional structural damage was caused to house frontages along Eaton Square.

Further damage was caused to Eaton Square during the latter stages of the Blitz, in an air raid on 14 March 1944.

Photo:Damage to the trench shelter, Eaton Square

Damage to the trench shelter, Eaton Square

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:Eaton Square bomb shelter facing NW, 11 May 1941

Eaton Square bomb shelter facing NW, 11 May 1941

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:Damage to the south side of Eaton Square, SW1

Damage to the south side of Eaton Square, SW1

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:ARP Message Form, Eaton Sqaure, 1941

ARP Message Form, Eaton Sqaure, 1941

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:ARP Message Form detailing casualties in Eaton Square

ARP Message Form detailing casualties in Eaton Square

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:Bomb Map: Eaton Square

Bomb Map: Eaton Square

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Eaton Square, SW1 (opposite Numbers 40-48)

This page was added by Ronan Thomas on 13/09/2010.

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