1,300 killed in London alone this week

King Christian X of Denmark riding through Copenhagen

King Christian X of Denmark is greeted by crowds of well wishers in Copenhagen on his 70th birthday, 26th September 1940. His daily unaccompanied rides through the city, during which he notably failed to acknowledge any of the German military occupiers, became a symbol of passive Danish resistance.

From the Weekly Resume of the NAVAL, MILITARY AND AIR SITUATION for the week to 12 noon September 26th, 1940, as reported to the British War Cabinet:

AIR SITUATION

Great Britain.

45. During the past week the scale of operations of the German Air Force has shown a slight decrease from that of the preceding seven days. This is accounted for mainly by the decreased use of long-range bombers by day with a consequent reduction in fighter escorts. Enemy daylight operations have been chiefly confined to South-Eastern England and the Thames Estuary.

On several days enemy activity has been restricted to one major attack or to armed reconnaissances. Attacks were directed mainly against docks on the Thames, aerodromes, aircraft factories, ports and communications. There has been no penetration in strength to the London area, raids having been dispersed before arrival and only a few isolated cases of bombing being reported from the outskirts. Some of these raids dispersed very quickly on sighting our fighters. Bombs have been dropped indiscriminately over the South-Eastern counties.

HOME SECURITY SITUATION

Casualties.

78. Approximate casualties for the period are : Killed. 1,500; seriously injured, 3,000. For London: Killed, 1,300; seriously injured, 2,200.

Unexploded mines and bombs.

79. The enemy has made extensive use of parachute mines during the past week. When these detonate, their blast force exceeds that of a 500-kilogram H.E. bomb, and up to 100 houses have been demolished by a single detonation. Fortunately, a majority have not exploded, and, although their very delicate fuze renders them likely to explode subsequently on a very slight vibration, many of them have been successfully disposed of by the Naval personnel organised for this purpose. [See also 21st September 1940 ]

80. Generally, unexploded bombs and mines have had nuisance value, delaying railways, holding up factory production and necessitating evacuation without notice of large numbers of householders

Morale.

83. After some early tendency to find scapegoats for the apparent initial success of the attack and delay in remedial measures, more general equanimity now prevails. The public is well aware that the attack has failed, and have steeled themselves to the inconvenience and interruption in their wonted life, even where there has been great personal loss.

Difficulties of transport and the inconvenience of evacuation from stricken areas cause irritation, but generally the national feeling is one of toleration so long as at the end the defeat of the enemy is achieved. There is little appearance of nervous or physical overstrain. Fear and shock, attendant on actual explosion, passes quickly in most cases.

Without over-emphasis people take the obvious precaution to ensure such safety as they can and particularly to ensure sufficient sleep. By day they continue their ordinary business. Having adjusted their lives to such reasonable extent they regard the event philosophically, the Cockney adopting an appropriate bent to his humour, though there are signs of increased hatred of Germany, and demands for reprisals are numerous. [ See also 24th September 1940 ]

See TNA cab/66/12/20

For much more on the impact of the bombing campaign in central London see the excellent West End at War.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: