The Night The Blitz Hit Balham – new radio documentary commemorates 80th anniversary of tragic night when nearly 70 people died

On the evening of October 14, 1940, one of the worst wartime domestic disasters took place in Balham.

During the Second World War, Balham was one of many deep Tube stations designated for use as a civilian air raid shelter.

On the day of the disaster, people had been sheltering inside the station from early afternoon.

At 8.02pm a 1,400kg semi-armour piercing fragmentation bomb landed on the road above the northern end of the platform tunnels, creating a large crater into which an out of service London double decker bus crashed.

Water and earth flowed into the Tube station from fractured water mains and sewers above.

Nearly 70 people were killed and 70 more injured, but the tragedy was under-reported at the time as the Government feared the impact on morale.

A radio documentary, The Night The Blitz Hit Balham, has been made about that fateful night which will air on local radio station, Riverside Radio, on October 14 at 8pm.

Documentary film maker Rob West has now turned his hand to making the radio documentary.

“As someone who uses Balham station regularly, I’ve always been curious to know more about the background to the bombing of the Station in 1940,” said Rob.

“What’s become clear in making this documentary is how much has gone unreported, how many people still have some connection to the disaster and how many lives were affected by it.”

Lesley Strachan, a Director of Riverside Radio and Balham resident, said: “Rob has found archive records of survivors of the incident talking about their experiences.

“He has also tracked down descendants who still live locally to discover and record their memories. I found the documentary extremely moving.

“We will be publishing all the names of the victims of the bomb on as part of our commemoration of a local tragedy.”

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