Between 1940 and 1945 London suffered 101 daylight and 253 night-time air raids from the Luftwaffe and V1 and V2’s. There were 80,000 fatalities or serious injuries and appalling devastation. Well documented as these horrific events are, there was another major threat – the all too real possibility of widespread flooding whenever the Nazi onslaught breached the Thames’ river defences. This superbly researched and illustrated book describes the vital role and unsung achievements of the London County Council emergency repair teams ably led by Chief Engineer Thomas Peirson Frank. Three rapid response units were formed and, in the event, undertook repairs to over 100 breaches of the flood defences, thus saving the Capital from drowning. We also learn of the fate of London’s docks and bridges and of the ships, boats and barges lost in the estuary and tideway. This fascinating account has been compiled by the Thames Discovery Programme team and, 80 years on, pays tribute to the non-combatants who kept the major port running and saved London.
THAMES AT WAR Saving London from the Blitz
The story of the Blitz, and those iconic images, are well known. Less well known is the story of London County Council’s emergency repair teams who, whilst their colleagues on land were battling fires and saving lives, repaired breaches to Thames flood defences and thus prevented the capital from serious and cataclysmic flooding.