Keep Clear UXB - Print on steel sign - 500mm x 178mm
On 7 September 1940 the Blitz began with London bombed 57 nights in a row. The Luftwaffe dropped over 24,000 tonnes of high explosive on London in 85 major raids during the war, but not every bomb exploded, because of defects or other reasons many failed to explode and would bury themselves tens of feet into the ground.
The largest bombs dropped on Britain were almost 4,000lb (1,800kg) devices nicknamed Satans, but the damage bombs of any sizes could do was vast, they would destroy buildings, make them totally uninhabitable and claim many lives.
At Balham Station, on the 14th October 1940 at 8.02pm a 1400 kilo semi armour piercing bomb penetrated 32 feet underground and exploded just above the cross passage between the two platforms. Above ground a No.88 London double decker bus, travelling in blackout conditions, plunged into the crater created by the bomb. The dramatic spectacle of the trapped bus was to become emblematic of the dangers of the Blitz, a series of pictures of it appeared in publications around the world. The water and gas mains, along with the sewage pipes, had been broken: water poured down, flooding the tunnels below, and gas hampered rescue efforts. Almost all of the casualties would have resulted from the blast and debris. Yet stories soon developed of trapped people drowning in the flood waters and of miraculous escapes by people swimming along the tunnels to the next station. In total sixty six people died.
After 1941 and the end of the Blitz the Luftwaffe still made air raids on the UK, especially over the south east. The last raid was in May 1944.