ANALYSIS OF CASUALTY & FATALITY FIGURES
by Nick Cooper © 2003-10
The purpose of this page is to reconcile the various previously-published figures for casualties and fatalities associated with the London Underground network during WW2, with the records of Civilian War Dead maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), and where possible to identify by name those killed. I am indebted to the assistance given by the staff of the Commission in this task, and wish to state that any transcription errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the author.
The number of fatalities for this incident vary between 64 (as quoted on the memorial plaque in the station itself) and 68, but the CWGC now records 66*:
14/10/40 - "Died at Balham tube station" (Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth):BALLAM, FRANCES SARAH (Age 55)
It is notable that all the above are stated as having died at the station, with no injured subsequently dying elsewhere.
*For many years this total stood at 65, until Gladys Benbrook was added to the CWGC Register of Civilian War Dead in May 2010, having previously been unrecorded. My thanks to Howard Benbrook for drawing my attention to this omission, and to Terry Denham for raising the case for inclusion with the Commission.
In the immediate aftermath of this incident, the number of casualties was reported as:
Dead - 25 bodies recovered
[SOURCE: PRO HO 186/639 - Incident report from Civil Defence Region 5, Group 3 (City of London)]
Most accounts now state 56 killed and 69 wounded, giving a total of 125, rather than the 135 estimated above. The CWGC records 56 civilian fatalities which contain reference to "Bank tube station." Of these, 46 were deaths in situ, while nine died either the same night or in the next two days.
11/01/41 - "Died at Bank tube station" (City of London):BARRITT, KATE (Age 49) [W.V.S. worker]
Of the above, one was a Women's Voluntary Service (WVS) worker, one a member of the Home Guard, and two police constables. References to the number of fatalities being, "53 shelterers," may be attributed to three of these four being "on duty" at the time.
The CWGC records numerous other casualties as a result of the same general raid, with other locations hit including Liverpool Street Station (mainline), Bishopsgate, Bishopgate Street and New Street. Two fatalities are recorded at the Mansion House, adjacent to Bank Station. All bar one of those who subsequently died in hospital have the location where they were injured noted. The single exception, however, shares a surname and a Bethnal Green home address with a known Bank fatality, and so is almost certainly a previously-missing "missing" 57th victim:
19/01/41 - "died at St. Bartholomew's Hospital" (City of London):LEYSERMAN, MARTHA (Age 29)
BOUNDS GREEN 13/10/40
The total usually applied to this incident is 19, but the particular circumstances mean that it is often described in prosaic - almost romanticised - terms. Carpenter (1992), for example, states:
"Nineteen people were killed and twenty seriously injured. It was particularly poignant that the strict allocation system had been instrumental in selecting the victims. Sixteen of the fatalities were Belgian refugees who were permanently allotted to the east end of the platform. The remaining three were British newcomers to the shelter who had been temporarily placed in the Belgian area by the station foreman."
Halliday (2001) offers a similar:
"The nature of the casualties [at Bounds Green] made this a particularly tragic episode. Sixteen of the dead were Belgian refugees who had fled their country at the time of the Dunkirk invasion and had created a Belgian enclave at one end of the platform. On this particular night they had welcomed three English people who had been bombed out of two homes. All nineteen were killed."
Such accounts seem to have their origin in Graves (1947):
"In fact, nineteen people were killed, all except three of whom were Belgians. A local colony of refugees from Belgium had ensconced themselves at the far end of the west platform on the first night of the blitz. They kept themselves to themselves, and it was only because they had been blitzed out of two homes in forty-eight hours that the foreman ticket-collector had permitted three British subjects to shelter in the Belgians' section of the platform.
The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the civilian casualties in the Municipal Borough of Wood Green, however, cast doubt on certain aspects of the "usual story":
13/04/40 - "Died at Tube Station, Bounds Green Road" (Municipal Borough of Wood Green):BOULLE, FRANCINE (age 5) [Belgian Subject]
In addition, the following four people were killed in the same raid, presumably in the houses demolished by the bombing which caused the platform tunnel to collapse:
13/04/40 - "Died at Cedars, Bounds Green Road" (Municipal Borough of Wood Green):BOWDICH, BARBARA ANTOINETTE (Age 11)
The CWGC records numerous other casualties as a result of the same general raid, with only three of the above being specifically-stated as being Belgian, but of the remaining 13 recorded as having died at the station, nine do not have names that would suggest them being anything other than British. This leaves the four members of the Necchi family, but the surname is Italian, while the forenames of the two adults suggest that they were not recent immigrants to the UK.
The Borough details in CWGC records are those of the district in which a death occurred, so either there were another 13 injured Belgians who died and were buried in another location, and that ten of the thirteen Britons were somehow overlooked in the immediate aftermath; or simply that the numbers were mistakenly switched at some point, and it was in fact thirteen British citizens and three Belgians were killed on the night itself, "16 plus 3..." being mistaken for "16, of whom 3..."
As to the story about the "English family" recently arrive in the area, the following are the home addresses for the victims, together with their approximate distances from the station:
BOULLE - 47 Palace Gates Road [1km]
Since Winifred Mears was in attendance as a W.V.S. (Women's Voluntary Service) worker, she is an exception, but it would seem that the Necchi family were those often stated as recently-arrived in the area, having been bombed out of their previous home. References to the family only being three in number are probably a reconciliation with the erroneous belief that only three of the fatalities were British.
CAMDEN TOWN 14/10/40
Most sources state a single fatalities in this bombing, but the CWGC records five:
14/10/40 - "Died at Camden Town Tube Station" (Metropolitan Borough of St. Pancras):CROOK, HENRY EDWARD (Age 56)
CHALK FARM 17/04/41
One known fatality (may have been on duty on station roof):
17/04/41 - "Died at Chalk Farm Tube Station" (Metropolitan Borough of St. Pancras):CATLIN, CHRISTOPHER WILLIAM (Age 29) [Air Raid Warden/Firewatcher]
CHALK FARM 11/05/41
Two known fatalities (again, may have been on duty on station roof):
11/05/41 - "Died at Chalk Farm Station" (Metropolitan Borough of St. Pancras):TWOHEY, JOHN WILLIAM (Age 42) [Railway A.R.P.]
CHARING CROSS 08/10/40
During this morning incident, a number of High Explosive bombs hit Charing Cross mainline station, with passing through the roof of the adjacent Underground station of the same name (the current Embankment). Contemporary documentation notes that one person was killed, and indeed the CWGC records the following:
8/10/40 - "Died at Charing Cross Underground Station" - (City of Westminster):UFFINDELL, WILFRED SAMUEL (Aged 30)
In addition, nine people were killed in the mainline station, with a tenth dying in hospital later:
8/10/40 - "Died at Charing Cross Southern Railway Station" - (City of Westminster):BAIRD, JOSEPH (Aged 42)
8/10/40 - "Died at Charing Cross Station" - (City of Westminster):BAILEY, IRIS NINA MARGARET (Aged 23)
17/10/40 - "Injured at Charing Cross Station; died at Charing Cross Hospital." - (City of Westminster):COLLINGS, WILLIAM HARRY (Aged 24)
Many published sources refer to the station being damaged twice in September 1940 - with one incident incurring casualties - but no specific dates. Declassified official records show that the station was hit by a high explosive bomb at 20:45 on 25 September 1940, and then by second at 22:45 the same night, killing or injuring staff and passengers. The CWGC records eight fatalities at the scene:
25/09/40 - "Died at Colindale station" - (Municipal Borough of Hendon):CLAPP, WILLIAM JAMES (Aged 54)
GREEN PARK 11/01/41
If casualties are noted at all for this bombing, they are usually stated as two LT staff injured. CWGC records, however, show a much higher number of casualties:
11/01/41 - "Died at Green Park Station, Piccadilly" (Westminster City):DOIG, DULCIE IDA AUDREY (Age 22) [SRN, Hospital Sister, Acton Hospital]
12/01/41 - "Injured at Green Park Tube Station; died same day at West Middlesex County Hospital, Isleworth" (Municipal Borough of Heston and Isleworth):LEVINE, MORRIS (Age 57)
It should be noted that the date discrepancy in the case of Levine may be the result of confusion in a night raid, while the lack of occupation details means it is not possible to confirm at present that this as an LT employee.
With thanks to Alex Scott for assitance in expanding details of this incident.
KINGS CROSS 09/03/41
One known fatality of London Underground worker:
09/03/41 - "Died at King's Cross Metro Station" (Metropolitan Borough of St. Pancras):HILL, STANLEY VIVIAN (Age 40)
With thanks to David Glennerster for notification of this incident.
LAMBETH NORTH 16/01/41
Casualties for this bombing are usually stated as 20 injured, while the CWGC records that one of them subsequently died:
31/01/41 - "Injured 15 January 1941, at Lambeth North Tube Station; died at St. Thomas's Hospital" (Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth):GARLAND, ROBERT ISAAC (Age 68)
PADDINGTON (PRAED STREET) 13/10/40
This bombing resulted in significant loss of life, but was not recorded in previous accounts of high fatality incidents (Graves, etc.). Initial CWGC analysis of Paddington Borough civilian dead shows five killed of died in situ, and three more succumbing to their injuries in the following days, although the total may be higher if injured died in hospitals in other Boroughs, as yet unidentified:
13/10/40 - "Died at Praed Street Station" (Metropolitan Borough of Paddington):CHARLEMONT, EVELYN FANNY CHARLOTTE (Age 55)
In addition to the above eight fatalities, there is a ninth who may have either been injured on the thoroughfare itself, or the "station" detail was omited in error, although it is more likely to be the former:
17/10/40 - "Injured 13 October 1940, at Praed Street; died at St. Mary's Hospital" (Metropolitan Borough of Paddington):BROWN, LEONARD CHARLES STEWART (Age 31)
SLOANE SQUARE 12/11/40
A figure of 79 casualties is often applied to this incident, but while some sources give it as the number of injured, with others others it is fatalities. The CWGC, however, records 35 immediate deaths, and two from injuries subsequently:
12/11/40 - "Died at Sloane Square Station" (Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea):ADAMS, FREDERICK VICTOR (Age 30)
TRAFALGAR SQUARE 12/10/40
The usual figure of seven fatalities for this incident is confirmed by the CWGC, although all bar one of them refer to merely "Trafalgar Square station," rather than the "Tube station" of the seventh:
12/10/40 - "Died at Trafalgar Square Station" (City of Westminster):BERSTAD, SIGVART (Age 31) [Norwegian]
TURNPIKE LANE 05/01/41
The CWGC records the following as the result of an as yet unidentified incident:
13/01/41 - "Injured 5 January 1941, at Turnpike Lane Tube Station; died at North-Eastern Hospital" (Municipal Borough of Tottenham):FOOT, ARTHUR HENRY (Age 66)
Piccadilly Line Extension - The Diamond Anniversary (Barry Carpenter,
1992, Piccadilly Line [East Area])
London Transport Carried on (Charles Graves, 1947, London Transport [edition quoted London Transport at War, 1978, London Transport, ISBN 0-85329-089-X])
Underground to Everywhere (Stephen Halliday, 2001, Sutton Publishing/London Transport Museum, ISBN 0-7509-2585-X)
|10/10/04||Updated (Chalk Farm details)|
|12/10/04||Updated (Camden Town details)|
|14/10/04||Updated (Balham details)|
|20/04/05||Updated (Paddington Praed Street details)|
|06/01/09||Updated (expanded Bank, Chalk Farm & Green Park#B details)|
|11/05/10||Updated (addition to Balham details)|
|16/08/10||Updated (addition to Sloane Square details)|
|27/09/10||Updated (Colindale details)|
|05/10/10||Updated (Charing Cross details)|
|22/10/17||Hosting transfer & amendments|