Search

Survivors and relatives gather to honour 70th anniversary of Highbury Corner bomb

18:58 27 June 2014

The mayor and residents gather at the scene in Highbury Corner, including Brian Monti (seventh from left) and Tracey Shaw (third right, front row)

The mayor and residents gather at the scene in Highbury Corner, including Brian Monti (seventh from left) and Tracey Shaw (third right, front row)

Archant

A man who was blown up as a schoolboy and a woman whose grandma died in the blast were among those who paid their respects on the 70th anniversary of the Highbury Corner bomb.

Police stopped traffic on the busy gyratory as survivors, relatives and local dignitaries gathered for an emotional minutes silence at exactly 12.46pm this afternoon.

Seven decades ago in 1944, during World War II, 26 people lost their lives and 150 more where injured when the German VI flying bomb exploded in what was then a residential street.

The blast completely destroyed 11 houses and the Cock Tavern, as well as damaging many other buildings, including the old Highbury and Islington station.

Brain Monti, 79, of Florence Street, Islington, was a pupil at nearby Canonbury Road School when the bomb hit.

He said: “We were all out in the playground kicking a football about when we heard it come over.

“Before we could get to cover it blew up.

“All the kids in the were blown away and some of them were very badly injured, although I don’t think any of them actually died.

“I suffered a break in my hand and a perforated ear drum for the rest of my life – it kept me out of the armed forces.

“That’s why I am here today, to pay my respects to all the people who died or were injured.”

Margeret Girdlestone, 81, was also at school during the explosion.

“I was eating my school dinner,” she said. “Suddenly all the glass from the windows shattered into our food.

“I remember it clearly because it was so dramatic.

“We had to walk the back way, round [nearby] Liverpool Road, and I remember my brother not liking it one but.

“When we were evacuated I remember being put in a tin bath as soon as I got to my new home.

“I didn’t know why until I saw the Gazette front page – we were all covered in soot from the steam train.”

Tracey Shaw, who lives in Herfordshire, lost her grandmother Elizabeth Harding in the explosion 70 years ago.

“I only found out about the ceremony today,” she said. “My father and I have been down before but he couldn’t make it this time.

“My grandma was working in the post office. She was doing an extra shift that day when it happened.

“My dad was only five at the time so my great aunt had to identify her. Her husband, my granddad, was in Italy with the army, but they wouldn’t let him come home.”

The bomb took around half an hour to arrive after it was fired in France.

As it flew over Hackney the engines were switched off to mask its approach.

Historian John Shepherd said: “Afterwards the blast they created Highbury Corner, because the houses on both sides of the street were destroyed.

“There are still basements, cellars and foundations under the road.

“The sad fact is it did its job as far as the Germans were concerned - it caused massive death and destruction.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Highbury Grove students post mail art into their very own pillar box

Pupils have been posting art and secret messages to family and friends as part of a project set up by an Islington Museum.

Arsenal's Theo Walcott in action against Monaco

England forward has name put to award winning pie in the hope he can recapture his form for the FA Cup final

Yesterday, 11:53
Royal fans celebrate outside the Lindo Wing entrance at St Mary's Hospital after reports from Kensington Palace announced the born of a baby girl (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a girl - with mother and baby both doing well, Kensington Palace has announced.

Yesterday, 09:00
Fred's ladies bicycle

Friends sell affordable, “beautiful”, bikes that help get Ugandan businesses on their feet.

Most read news

Competitions

Pop on the most stylish eyewear around from Specsavers.

London eyecare specialists Specsavers are offering London24 readers the chance to win a £150 voucher to spend on stylish eyewear in the city.

Two phones. Same phone case. Genius.

To celebrate the launch of the first luxury dual phone case, PearPeel, we are giving away two of the black leather Rocha cases, perfect for holding two iPhone 6 handsets.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder