19th January 1941: Bomb Damage at Bank Station

Woke to the sound of running water, and found a rapid thaw in progress. Thanks to the bad workmanship of the Borough Engineering Department, the Castle roof was leaking in a dozen places, great pools forming all over the gallery floors. I went on the roof where there were great drifts of snow 3 feet deep, but as I had no tools I could not shift them. Told Poulter, and went home to breakfast.

This evening cleared out Parnell’s Cell (much overdue!) and was there when an alarm sounded at 7 o’clock. Harding came on duty, so I went up to Seymour’s for an hour or so. Saunders was there. He told me had seen the wreckage at the Bank Tube Station, where, a week ago on Saturday, a large bomb fell through the roadway (about 4 feet thick) and burst in the booking hall. It is not known how many persons were killed, but there may be about 100. After two days, no further effort was made to remove the debris, as it was felt that no one else could be alive. One writer in the Press said that this was one of the larger London war-graves, and the sight of it filled him with a lust for revenge, at the thought of so many innocent persons being destroyed in a flash. The only revengeful thoughts which it awakens in me are against the cruel callous swines who are in charge of this country and who let the wretched people have no other shelter than these insecure caverns under the streets. I did hear Sir John Anderson, [Home Secretary from 1939-1940] who in the first place forbad people to use the deep tubes, was in danger of his life if he went into the East End, but the others seem to enjoy the greatest respect from their victims.

Very few planes over tonight. One about 8pm, then two or three between ten and eleven. I heard explosions to the south, but whether bombs or guns I do not know.

Tom Critchley's blog, which publishes his wartime letters, also mentions the bomb damage at Bank station. See his letter dated 15th January 1941.

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