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VE Day anniversary: Newham destroyed during Blitz

PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 May 2015

Bomb damage in Cundy Road. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.com

Bomb damage in Cundy Road. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.com

Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.com

The celebrations of VE Day came after years of war and devastation.

Bomb damage in Washington Road. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.comBomb damage in Washington Road. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.com

Hardly an area of Newham - then still divided as East Ham and West Ham - was untouched by destruction during the Blitz.

The docks, with its industry, became a natural target for Nazi bombers on night raids.

The first bomb fell on West Ham on August 28, 1940, before the bombing began in earnest on September 7 with Canning Town and Silvertown targeted.

Between October 7, 1940, and June 6, 1941, a total of 1,200 bombs were dropped on Newham, according to bomb census website bombsight.org.

Bomb damage at Canning Town Library. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.comBomb damage at Canning Town Library. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.com

Everything from homes to schools and libraries were reduced to rubble.

It is believed as many as 400 people were killed when a bomb hit South Hallsville School in Custom House on September 10 in what is considered to be the worst civilian disaster in Britain during the Second World War.

A total of 3015 people from the borough were killed during the war, either as civilian casualties or while serving in the military.

More than half of those killed came from West Ham, where 1246 civilians died alongside 915 servicemen.

Bomb damage at Abbey Road depot. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.comBomb damage at Abbey Road depot. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.com

In East Ham, 523 civilians were killed, with a further 331 military personnel.

All pictures used with permission from Newham Archives and Local Studies Library. Copies are available to buy at newhamphotos.com or by visiting the centre, at Stratford Library, open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10.30pm to 5pm. Book an appointment by emailing archiveslocalstudies@newham.gov.uk or calling 020 3373 6881.

Bomb damage at South Hallsville School. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.comBomb damage at South Hallsville School. Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies Library/Image available to buy at newhamphotos.com

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