The Cost of war

At the outbreak of the Second World War there were plans to evacuate children from Edmonton to safer areas but it wasn’t considered necessary for the children of Enfield and Southgate as these areas were deemed to be ‘safe’. Later in the war it was agreed that children to the east of the Southbury Loop railway line would be eligible for evacuation.

Although much of the present day Borough of Enfield was considered a reasonably safe area there was considerable bomb damage. Even ‘minor bombing’ as described by the ARP Log Book could result in broken windows and injuries from flying glass.

According to the commonwealth War graves Commission there were 389 people killed in the borough. The breakdown for the three areas is:

Edmonton: 162 fatalities, 432 seriously injured, 609 slightly injured

Enfield: 109 fatalities, 271 seriously injured, 419 slightly injured

Southgate 118 fatalities, 267 seriously injured. The number slightly injured isn’t known
As well as the deaths and injuries there was extensive damage to property. This was compounded by the shortage of supplies with which to carry out repairs. Many bomb sites remained untouched for years after the war ended. The ‘Bombie’ in Grove Road New Southgate was one such site that was only redeveloped in 2014 being turned into to a park.

In total 433 houses were destroyed in Edmonton, 347 in Enfield and 256 in Southgate.

EPSON scanner imageThe image on the right shows the aftermath of bombing during the Second World War somewhere in the present day Borough of Enfield. Unfortunately there is nothing on the photos to say exactly where.  It shows men climbing over the wreckage, There doesn’t seem to be any equipment other than their bare hands. Does anyone know where this is? Any ideas would be appreciated.

Over the last two years volunteers and staff at the Enfield Archive have been working to produce a list of those who died in the First World War. This has involved many hours searching through newspapers, school records and the Commonwealth War Graves website and matching names to addresses.

We have also had contributions from members of the public who gave us details of their relatives who had died.  There are now 2740 names. The list has now been added to the Enfield council website: http://www.enfield.gov.uk/info/1062/local_studies/3285/enfield_at_war.

If there is anyone we have missed we would love to hear about it so that their names can be included. You can contact us at local.history@enfield.gov.uk  Tel: 0208 379 2724 or write to us at Enfield Local Studies Library and Archive, 1st Floor Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, Enfield EN2 6DS. Or just pop in and tell us and you can see what else we hold about the impact of both World Wars in Enfield. We are open 9.30 – 5pm Monday to Friday. The photos are of a few of the local men who laid down their lives during the First World War.

Also added to the website (see link above) is the film of the dramatized re-telling of the shooting down of the Cuffley Airship which was brought down by William Leefe Robinson in 1916.

Wreckage of the Cuffley airship
Wreckage of the Cuffley airship

Helping The War Effort

Enfield Local Studies volunteers have been scanning more glass negatives taken during the Second World War. Some of these we already had copies of but with a new, more advanced scanner we are able to create much better quality copies.

Prize winner Bush Hill Park Poultry Club 1943
Prize winner Bush Hill Park Poultry Club 1943

During the Second World War people were asked to raise money to help buy planes, tanks, ships and for China. There was a War Weapons Week, Wings for Victory, Salute the Soldier, Tanks Week. There were parades and services to promote these initiatives. All three areas purchased Spitfires. During Wings for Victory Week Southgate raised enough money to buy a Stirling bomber. Southgate also purchased HMS Farndale, Edmonton HMS Isis  and also adopted HMS Punjab. They were urged to ‘Dig for Victory’, ‘Make do and Mend’ and beat the ‘Squander Bug’. They were encouraged to cultivate allotments  or turn their gardens over to growing vegetables in an effort to beat food shortages.

Warship Week with Arthur Askey
Warship Week with Arthur Askey
Handy's Allotment Stall
Handy’s Allotment Stall
Wings for Victory poster
Wings for Victory poster
Aid to China 1943
Aid to China 1943
Wings for Victory Week
Wings for Victory Week

Bombing and censorship

The start of the V1 bombing campaign was severe blow to morale. At first the government censored any reference  to the ‘flying bombs’. On16th June Herbert Morrison announced that London was under attach by pilotless planes. The scale of the destruction was hushed up in order to maintain morale and prevent the Germans from knowing how effective the campaign was. There were strict rules about reporting bombing incidents. There was to be no mention of the name of the road until  three months after the incident. Photos of bombed streets had to show an intact building. All identifying signs had to be removed.

Queen Anne's Place showing censor's marks 1944
Queen Anne’s Place showing censor’s marks 1944

Chesterfield Road School was hit by V2 in June 1944. Below is the ARP report:

Date: 27.6.44                          Message Time: 12.25             Incident Time: 12.07

Particulars:     Damage ‘Fly’ Ordnance Road/Chesterfield Road.

Date: 27.6.44                          Message Time: 12.40             Incident Time: 12.07

Particulars:     Damage to school/Chesterfield Road.

Date: 27.6.44                          Message Time: 12.58             Incident Time: 12.07

Particulars:     Further details: – Part of school collapsed (some trapped).

Remarks:        Extensive damage at Bradley Road/Preston Road. Casualties: 3 serious.

 One of the fatalities was a teacher from the school. The Log Book from the school was found in the rubble after the air raid.

Chesterfield Road School
Chesterfield Road School

Chestefield Road School Log Book found in the rubble after the air raid

Carpenter Gardens was another place to be hit by a V2. ARP report:

Date: 7.7.44                            Message Time: 01.09,01.39,02.17Incident Time: 01.05, 01.09,                                           Particulars:     Report ‘Fly’ Highfield Road.

 Big incident. Fire Highfield Road/Carpenter Gardens. 765131. Details to                          follow.

 Many casualties-Some trapped. Mutual assistance in operation. School  damaged and food shops. Rescue 50 reports. Gas main on fire. Rescue operations still proceeding. Homeless accommodated in rest centre.

Remarks:        Killed: 8; Seriously Injured: 10; Slightly injured: 14; Missing: Unknown.

The report makes grim reading.

Wakefield Road, Southgate. Trying to repair the damage caused by a V2
Wakefield Road, Southgate. Trying to repair the damage caused by a V2