Mourning the 173 dead from Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster

Survivors and relatives read names of the dead for the first time, inscribed on the unfinished memor

Survivors and relatives read names of the dead for the first time, inscribed on the unfinished memorial in Bethnal Green - Credit: Archant

The people of London’s East End came to mourn their dead on the 70th anniversary yesterday of Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster.

It was the first year that survivors, and relatives and descendants of those who died could read their names and lay wreaths at the new, unfinished memorial to the 173 people crushed to death surging down the steps into a public shelter at Bethnal Green during a false air-raid alert on March 3, 1943.

The staircase was unsafe and badly lit, it emerged later. But the tragedy was hushed-up by wartime national security censorship for public moral and largely forgotten.

...See picture gallery (top right)


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