From Hell

Jack the ripper

There are many theories on who Jack the Ripper was but there is only one thing that can be said with certainty, he was a vile and evil creature.There is a special place in hell for people like him.

Jack the ripper was well aware of this himself that’s probably why one of his letters started of with “From Hell”

The From Hell letter is probably the most disturbing  of the three most infamous Jack the Ripper messages. Which was  mainly because of  to how the letter arrived,inside a small box, including half of a human kidney.

The letter, dated October 15,1888 was addressed to  George Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. He received it on October 16, 1888.

Lusk

One of murder victim Catherine Eddowes’ kidneys had been removed by the killer. Medical opinion at the time was that the organ could have been gotteb by medical students and sent with the letter as part of a practical joke. Initially Lusk himself believed  this also and did not report the letter until he was urged to do so by friends.

Dr. Thomas Openshaw of the London Hospital found that it came from a sickly alcoholic woman who had died within the past three weeks, evidence according to him that it belonged to Eddowes.

The letter read:

“Mr Lusk,
Sor
I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer
signed
Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk”

Jack

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What shall we do with the drunken Cabbie?

Drunkne

On the 10th of September  1897, a London cabbie with the  name George Smith slammed his taxi into a building and becomes the first person to be arrested for drunk driving. He did plea guilty and was fined 25 shillings.

Police officers did suspect that Smith was drunk because of his behaviour,which resembled the behaviour of a drunk person, and the fact he drove his Taxi into a wall only confirmed this suspicion and also he admitted to it .However if he hadn’t they would have had a problem for w they lacked  a scientific way to prove someone was too intoxicated to drive.

(picture below is not George Smith)

taxi

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The forgotten Live Aid acts.

live aid

On July 13 1985, one of the biggest ever music concerts took place. Live Aid. The aim of the concerts was to raise  funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine.

The concerts are often referred to as a dual-venue benefit concert, which is actually not true. Yes the main concerts took place in London and Philadelphia but there were other concerts held in tandem in Australia,Asia and other European countries.

Another thing that happened was the relaxing on restrictions to Rock music in the Soviet Union

The Soviet Unions’s  Contribution for Live Aid was the Band ‘Autograph’

USSR LINK

Their performance was broadcast via Satellite from Moscow to Wembley,London.They were introduced by Introduction by Vladimir Posner .They played 2 songs Golovokruzhenie ( ” Vertigo “) and Nam nuzhen nir ( ” We need peace “).

Yugoslavia contributed with their equivalent to Band Aid and USA For Africa with a song called “For a Million Years” the song was introduced by Mladen Popovic , who also gave some background information to the song.

BB King was performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague,Netherlands that night and joined also via satellite link and played 4 songs.

“When It All Comes Down”
“Why I Sing the Blues”
“Don’t Answer the Door”
“Rock Me Baby”

BB King

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Kamikaze

Mitsubishi_Ki15-Kamikaze

I know what you are thinking “Yet another blog about Japanese suicide bombers” but you’d be wrong.

This Japanese kamikaze did not attack anywhere in the pacific but it flew to London instead.

The Ki-15 aircraft air_ki15_1was originally designed to meet a 1935 Army Air Force requirement. The prototype first took flight in May 1936, and was quickly accepted as the Japanese Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1. Production for the first order of 437 aircraft began in May 1937. They were single-engine monoplanes with fixed tail wheelundercarriages.

Kamikaze ( Kamikaze-gō) was a Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane aircraft, sponsored by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Asahi_Shimbun_first_issue

It became famous on April 9, 1937, as the first Japanese-built aircraft to fly from Japan to Europe. The flight from Tokyo to London took 51 hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds and was piloted by Masaaki Iinuma (1912–1941), with Kenji Tsukagoshi (1900–1943) serving as navigator.

Pilot and Navigator

 

 

The Kamikaze-go took off from Tachikawa Airfield in Tokyo at 2:12:04 pm on April 6, 1937, with much fanfare. The aircraft flew from Tokyo via Taipei to Hanoi and Vientiane in French Indochina, then via Calcutta and Karachi in British India and Basra and Baghdad in Iraq, and then Athens, Rome and Paris in Europe.

The aircraft landed at London’s Croydon airport to a cheering crowd of spectators at 3:30 pm on April 9. The total elapsed time since departure was 94 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds, with actual flight time for the whole distance of 15,357 km of was 51 hours, 19 minutes and 23 seconds (average speed: 162,8 km/h or 101 MPH). The flight was the first Fédération Aéronautique Internationale aviation record to have been won by the Japanese.

This flight to Europe made the pilot, Masaaki Iinuma (then 26 years old), a national hero, and he was acclaimed as the “Japanese Lindbergh”. Both the pilot and navigator Kenji Tsukagoshi were awarded the Légion d’honneur by the French government.

On April 12, only a few days after the record-breaking flight, the Kamikaze-go carried Prince and Princess Chichibu, who were visiting England for the coronation, on a joy ride.

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A month later, on May 12, it was used to film the coronation ceremonies from the air. The Kamikaze-go was then flown back to Japan, duplicating its original route in the opposite direction, departing London May 14 and arriving in Osaka on May 20, and Haneda airport in Tokyo on May 21.

Kamikaze ‘s pilot, Masaaki Iinuma, later served as chief test pilot for the Kayaba Ka-1 autogyro from May 1941. He was later killed in action in the Pacific War in December 1941 near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He was 29 years old. In 1943, Kamikaze ‘s former navigator, Tsukagoshi, set off from Singapore for Germany in the prototype Tachikawa Ki-77, but disappeared over the Indian Ocean.

After its return to Japan, the Kamikaze-go continued to work actively in a variety of capacities for the Asahi Shimbun. However, on a flight back from the south of China it encountered bad weather and had to be ditched in southern Taiwan. It was later recovered and put on display at a “Kamikaze Memorial Center” on Ikoma, Nara Prefecture. The facilities were destroyed in World War II.

To commemorate the 1937 flight of the aircraft, Asahi Shimbun produced sake bottles and cups which were made available with the image of this aircraft on it.

kamikaze.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The London beer flood October 1814

breweryNo this is not a Carlsberg ad.”Carlsberg don’t do floods but if they did”

On Monday 17th October 1814, a terrible disaster claimed the lives of at least 8 people in St Giles, London. A bizarre industrial accident resulted in the release of a beer tsunami onto the streets around Tottenham Court Road.

The Horse Shoe Brewery stood at the corner of Great Russell Street and Tottenham Court Road. In 1810 the brewery, Meux and Company, had had a 22 foot high wooden fermentation tank installed on the premises. Held together with massive iron rings, this huge vat held the equivalent of over 3,500 barrels of brown porter ale, a beer not unlike stout.

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On the afternoon of October 17th 1814 one of the iron rings around the tank snapped. About an hour later the whole tank ruptured, releasing the hot fermenting ale with such force that the back wall of the brewery collapsed. The force also blasted open several more vats, adding their contents to the flood which now burst forth onto the street. More than 320,000 gallons of beer were released into the area. This was St Giles Rookery, a densely populated London slum of cheap housing and tenements inhabited by the poor, the destitute, prostitutes and criminals.

The flood reached George Street and New Street within minutes, swamping them with a tide of alcohol. The 15 foot high wave of beer and debris inundated the basements of two houses, causing them to collapse. In one of the houses, Mary Banfield and her daughter Hannah were taking tea when the flood hit; both were killed.

In the basement of the other house, an Irish wake was being held for a 2 year old boy who had died the previous day. The four mourners were all killed. The wave also took out the wall of the Tavistock Arms pub, trapping the teenage barmaid Eleanor Cooper in the rubble. In all, eight people were killed. Three brewery workers were rescued from the waist-high flood and another was pulled alive from the rubble.

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All this ‘free’ beer led to hundreds of people scooping up the liquid in whatever containers they could. Some resorted to just drinking it, leading to reports of the death of a ninth victim some days later from alcoholic poisoning.

‘The bursting of the brew-house walls, and the fall of heavy timber, materially contributed to aggravate the mischief, by forcing the roofs and walls of the adjoining houses.‘ The Times, 19th October 1814.

Some relatives exhibited the corpses of the victims for money. In one house, the macabre exhibition resulted in the collapse of the floor under the weight of all the visitors, plunging everyone waist-high into a beer-flooded cellar.

The stench of beer in the area persisted for months afterwards.

The brewery was taken to court over the accident but the disaster was ruled to be an Act of God, leaving no one responsible.

The flood cost the brewery around £23000 (approx. £1.25 million today). However the company were able to reclaim the excise duty paid on the beer, which saved them from bankruptcy. They were also granted ₤7,250 (₤400,000 today) as compensation for the barrels of lost beer.

Eventually, Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery went to court over the incident where they were found innocent. The brewery’s flood, the judge said, was nothing more than an “Act of God.

This unique disaster was responsible for the gradual phasing out of wooden fermentation casks to be replaced by lined concrete vats. The Horse Shoe Brewery was demolished in 1922; the Dominion Theatre now sits partly on its site.

Now I don’t have a choice but if I did this would be the way to go.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Great London Tornado of 1091

londontornado

I am not dismissing climate change in fact I am convinced that there is a climate change. The one thing I am not convinced about is, is it really caused by man. We had several ice changes long before heavy industry and cars etc.

We also had freak storms like the Great London Tornado of 1091

london

On 17 October 1091 a giant tornado hit London

Not only was this the first recorded tornado in British history, it was also the most powerful. Damage included the complete levelling of the church of St Mary-le-Bow, whose giant rafters were reportedly driven more than 20 feet into the earth.

Around 600 houses were also destroyed, as well as the wooden London Bridge only just built by William the Conqueror – perhaps originating the famous nursery rhyme that declared “London Bridge is falling down”.

London-Bridge-Is-Falling-Down_singing-bell

The tornado struck the heart of the city, causing a great deal of damage. The church of St Mary-le-Bow was completely leveled, to the extent that four huge 26 foot rafters were driven so far into the earth that only four feet remained visible above ground. Many more buildings, including around 600 mainly wooden houses, were also demolished although amazingly, only two deaths were recorded.

From accounts of the damage, meteorologists estimate that this tornado would have rated T8 on the tornado scale, which runs from T1 to T10. If so, winds of up to 240 mph would have struck the city.

After the tornado William Rufus rebuilt the bridge, but this too was short lived as a fire destroyed it only 40 years later. After this, the bridge was rebuilt in stone.

The bombing of Buckingham Palace

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Buckingham Palace was hit by bombs seven times during the Second World War. It was just a matter of sheer luck that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth weren’t killed or very badly injured when the third raid took place on September 13th, 1940.

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The king and queen were in one of the rooms near where the bomb went off. But crucially, the window to that room was open at the time. Hence no glass was blown into the room and the royal couple escaped unscathed. One man did die in the attack though, due to the shards and several others were injured.

bp bomb2

The bombing attack took place at about eleven in the morning – a time when it was likely to be fully occupied with members of the royal family, staff and workmen. The king and queen were quietly sitting enjoying a cup of tea when the bombs exploded just outside their window.

The royal chapel at the palace was also damaged at the same time by a third bomb. The bomb plummeted through the roof destroying the altar, causing a great deal of structural damage and hurling tons of debris into the basement.

The young princesses, Margaret and Elizabeth, were living at Windsor Castle – twenty miles away from the palace – at the time and indeed for the duration of the war. The government had tried to persuade the royal family to live somewhere safer than London, with its constant attacks from the Luftwaffe.

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Queen Elizabeth detailed the events of the daylight raid that occurred on Friday, September 13, 1940 in a letter to her mother-in-law, Queen Mary.

September 13th 1940

My Darling Mama

I hardly know how to begin to tell you of the horrible attack on Buckingham Palace this morning…

…At this moment we heard the unmistakable whirr-whirr of a German plane – We said “ah a German”, and before anything else could be said, there was the noise of aircraft diving at great speed, and then the scream of a bomb – It all happened so quickly, that we had only time to look foolishly at each other, when the scream hurtled past us, and exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle –

I saw a great column of smoke & earth thrown up into the air, and then we all ducked like lightning into the corridor – There was another tremendous explosion, and we & our 2 pages who were outside the door, remained for a moment or two in the corridor away from the staircase, in case of flying glass. It is curious how one’s instinct works at those moments of great danger, as quite without thinking, the urge was to get away from the windows. Everybody remained wonderfully calm, and we went down to the shelter – I went along to see if the housemaids were alright, and found them busy in their various shelters – Then came a cry for “bandages”, and the first aid party, who had been training for over a year, rose magnificently to the occasion, and treated the 3 poor casualties calmly and correctly –

Darling mama, I do hope that you will let me come & stay a day or two later – It is so sad being parted, as this War has parted famillies.

With my love, and prayers for your safety, ever darling Mama your loving daughter in law

Elizabeth

P.S. Dear old B.P is still standing, and that is the main thing.

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The Raid on the Medway-ending the Second Anglo-Dutch War.

1280px-The_Dutch_burn_English_ships_during_the_expedition_to_Chatham_(Raid_on_Medway,_1667)(Jan_van_Leyden,_1669)

The Medway raid of 9-14/19-24 June 1667 saw a Dutch fleet sail into the Thames and attack the British fleet in its anchorage in the Medway, causing a panic in London and winning a victory that helped bring the Second Anglo-Dutch War to an end.

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At the end of the summer of 1666 the British controlled the Channel, after the victory on St James’s Day and the devastating raid on Dutch shipping on 10 August (‘Holmes’s Bonfire’), but this was a short-lived success. The Great Plague of 1665 had already lowered Charles II’s income, and this was followed by the Great Fire of London (2-5 September 1666). Over the winter of 1666-67 the British fleet was laid up in the Medway, and at the start of the campaigning season of 1667 only two small squadrons put out to sea. Peace negotiations had already begun, and to a certain extend Charles’s decision was linked to this, while many in Britain believed that the Dutch would be unable to fund a powerful fleet of their own.

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This was not the case. The Grand Pensionary, Johan de Witt, was opposed to peace on the terms then available, and decided to launch a daring raid into the Thames to attack the British at anchor. The Dutch slowly built up the strength of their fleet at sea. A relatively small fleet sailed north to raid Scotland before returning south, and by 4 June a fleet of 54 ships of the line was off the Thames. This increased to sixty four on 6 June, and finally, on 7 June, Michiel de Ruyter arrived with the rest of the fleet.

Michiel-de-Ruyter

The Medway was very poorly defended in the summer of 1667. A strong iron chain supported by pontoons had been stretched across the river at Gillingham, and thirty pinnaces were available to fend off fireships. Only on 12 June, by which time the Dutch were already in the Medway, was George Monck ordered to build a gun battery at Gillingham.

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De Ruyter decided to send a small squadron up the Thames as far as Northfleet Hope, at Tilbury. This squadron would then turn back and sail into the Medway, where it would attack British shipping and if possible seize the defences of Sheerness. Lieutenant-Admiral Van Ghent was given command of the squadron, which contained seventeen men-of-war of between 60 and 36 guns, most of the ten fireships in the fleet and all of the smaller galliots.

Dutch Attack on the Medway, June 1667

The Dutch attack began in 9 June, when Van Ghent made slow progress up the Thames against a south-westerly wind. The wind prevented the Dutch from attacking some British ships in the Hope and at Gravesend, and on the night of 9-10 June Van Ghent moored just below Gravesend.

On 10 June the Dutch entered the Medway and captured the fort at Sheerness. Charles II responded by sending George Monck, duke of Albemarle, to Kent to organise a defence. Only now was the iron chain put in place at Gillingham, and a small gun battery built at each end while the Unity was posted just below the chain.

The crucial moment of the raid came on 12 June when the Dutch reached the chain. The Vrede, under Captain Jan van Brakel, and with two fireships in support, led the attack.

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While the Vrede attacked and captured the Unity, the fireships attacked and broke the chain. One then destroyed the British guardship Matthias. Van Brakel then went on to capture the Charles V, and used her guns against the British coastal batteries.

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The rest of the British fleet in the Medway was now virtually defenceless. The Royal Charles was quickly captured, and began Van Ghent’s flagship for the day, before being towed across the Channel (as was the Unity). The Monmouth was also burnt during the day.

Medway6

On 13 June the Dutch pushed further up the Medway. Although Upnor Castle and a battery on the opposite bank offered more resistance, the Dutch were still able to burn the Royal Oak, the  Loyal London and the Old James, while a larger number of ships were forced to run aground to save themselves.

The-burning-of-the-English-fleet-near-Chatham-June-1667-during-the-second-Anglo-Dutch-war

 

On 14 June, with most of his fireships gone, De Ruyter withdrew from the Medway and moored close to Queenborough, before moved into the mouth of the Thames. For a short period London was blockaded, and everything that normally arrived by sea was quickly in short supply (the price of coal rose from 15s to 140s per ton). De Ruyter considered mounting an attack up the Thames towards London, but a combination of improving British defences and the non-appearance of a French fleet forced him to abandon that plan. Finally, at the start of July, de Ruyter left the Thames and entered the Channel. An attack on Landguard Fort (2 July 1667) failed, ending a plan to attack Harwich.

The Dutch victory in the Medway forced Charles II to take the peace negotiations more seriously, and within a few weeks the war came to an end (Treaty of Breda, 31 July 1667).

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The Navigation Acts were modified to allow Dutch and German goods to enter Britain in Dutch ships, and most colonies taken during the war were returned, although the Dutch kept Surinam and Britain kept New York and New Jersey.

The peace was short-lived. After a brief period in which Holland, Britain and Sweden allied together to oppose Louis XIV, the French king managed to bribe Charles II to change sides, only five years after the Peace of Breda, in 1672, the Third Anglo-Dutch War broke out.

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The bombing of Café de Paris -London

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Café de Paris is a London nightclub, located in the West End, beside Leicester Square on Coventry Street, Piccadilly.

It opened in 1924 and subsequently featured such performers as Dorothy Dandridge, Marlene Dietrich, Harry Gold, Harry Roy, Ken Snakehips Johnson and Maxine Cooper Gomberg.Louise Brooks made history when she worked there in December 1924, introducing the Charleston (dance) to London.

charleston-dance-1920s

 

Much of the early success of the Café de Paris was due to the visit of the then Prince of Wales who became a regular guest, often dining with notables from high society across Europe. Cole Porter was a regular, as was the Aga Khan

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During World War II, on 8 March 1941, the café was bombed soon after the start of a performance[and at least 34 people were killed and around 80 injured.

 

Two bombs fell into the basement ballroom down a ventilation shaft and exploded in front of the stage.The victims included 26-year-old bandleader Ken “Snakehips” Johnson, his saxophonist Dave “Baba” Williams, other band members, staff and diners.Snakehips’ head was blown from his shoulders.

Bandleader Snake-Hips Johnson on BBC Television

Dancers’ legs were sheered off. The blast, magnified in the confined space, burst the lungs of diners as they sat at their tables and killed them instantly.A rescue worker who arrived in the devastated nightclub tripped over a girl’s head on the floor, looked up and saw her torso still sitting in a chair. The dead and dying were heaped everywhere.Champagne was cracked open to clean wounds.

But there were some narrow escapes too. The high-kicking cabaret dancers, a troupe of ten girls, were due on stage when the bomb struck, but were saved because they were waiting in the wings and therefore protected from the devastation.

Air Raids over Britain during  World War II

The worst of human nature was in evidence that night too – amid the rubble and the chaos, unscrupulous looters were seen cutting off the fingers of the dead to steal their rings.

But, even among the death and destruction, one man retained his sense of humour – as he was carried out on a stretcher, he got a cheer from the watching crowd when he called out, ‘At least I didn’t have to pay for dinner.’

FWP6RJ

 

On the same night that the Café de Paris was hit, so too was another even more famous landmark of London society – Buckingham Palace. And not for the first time.

The second Great Fire of London

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Today marks the 76th anniversary of the second Great Fire of London.

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On 29 December 1940 around 100,000 bombs fell in just a few hours, causing a firestorm across most of the City’s square mile up to Islington.

14 fire fighters were to lose their lives that night, with over 250 injured.

The largest continuous area of Blitz destruction anywhere in Britain occurred on this night, stretching south from Islington to the very edge of St Paul’s Churchyard. The area destroyed was greater than that of the Great Fire of London in 1666.

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The raid was timed to coincide with a particularly low tide on the River Thames, making water difficult to obtain for fire fighting. Over 1500 fires were started, with many joining up to form three major conflagrations which in turn caused a firestorm that spread the flames further, towards St Paul’s Cathedral.

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As the fires raged, Prime Minister Winston Churchill insisted that St Paul’s Cathedral be saved at all costs. The struggle involved fire crews and local volunteers.

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The German raid planned for the night of the 29th December was to feature an initial attack led by a specialist Pathfinder Squadron, followed by the first wave of bombers with mainly  incendiary bombs and some high explosive to set the City alight, followed much later in the evening by the second wave of bombers with high explosive bombs. The clear intention was to destroy the City with key strategic targets being the bridges over the river, train stations and tracks and communications centres such as the Faraday building on Queen Victoria Street which was a centre for the London Telephony system and also for international telephony circuits.

The role of the Pathfinder squadron was to locate the target using a beam radio system where radio signals transmitted from the Continent would direct a plane to its target with a change in signal where beams crossed indicating a key geographic point to commence the attack.

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The planes of the Pathfinder Squadron flew over the countryside between the coast and south London and on approaching Mitcham the signal changed indicating the point from where a carefully planned course and time would lead the planes directly to the centre of London.

This approach allowed for accurate bombing despite the heavy layers of cloud below. The aim of the Pathfinders was to start fires which the main bomber force could then follow.

At the planned time the bombers released canisters containing the incendiary bombs. On the drop down, the canisters then broke open to shower individual bombs over a wide radius.

The waves of the main bomber force then started to arrive, each loaded with canisters of incendiary bombs and the occasional high explosive bomb.

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These were relatively small devices and could be easy to deal with, however when dropped in such large numbers, it only took a few to start fires in hard to reach locations that could very quickly get out of control.

The 1KG incendiary was 34.5cm long and 5cm in diameter. The body was of magnesium alloy with a filling of an incendiary compound (thermite). On hitting the ground, a needle was driven into a percussion cap which ignited the thermite. The heat from this also ignited the magnesium casing causing an intense heat which would ignite any flammable material that the bomb was in contact with.

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.More than 160 civilians died during that night, with many more dying of their injuries sustained in this raid in the days that followed; 14 firemen died fighting the fires and 250 were injured. Buildings completely destroyed in the fire storm included 19 churches, 31 guild halls and all of Paternoster Row. Paternoster Row was the centre of the London publishing trade and an estimated 5 million books were lost in the fire.