This fantastic website was launched yesterday. It maps every bomb – high explosive, incendiary, parachute – that landed on Greater London during the Blitz, from 7 October 1940 until 6 June 1941. Produced by the University of Portsmouth (my alma mater), the National Archives and JISC, it’s a great example of geography and history working together.
Researchers used the WW2 Bomb Census in the National Archives, and painstakingly plotted the site of every bomb onto a map of London. From this we can see obviously the hardest hit areas. Whilst an overall look at the map shows an overall spread, when you zoom in closer, the Docklands – in particular the area around the Royal Victoria and Royal Albert Docks – were hard hit. Whilst the Luftwaffe were bombing London in general to attempt to subdue the civilian populations morale, and for this indiscriminate bombing across the whole city would suffice – bombing the important docks also seems to have been a priority. There are two reasons for these dual approaches – firstly, they probably lacked the accuracy to actually pinpoint small targets inland, however the docks were relatively easy to find as all the bombers had to do was fly up the Thames Estuary.
I’ve always been fascinated with the use of geographical plotting to give context to historical events. Data that sits in a chart or a spreadsheet comes alive when interpreted onto a map. I’m very interested in the thought of using similar techniques to plot war dead from Portsmouth. It could really help us to understand not just the impact of losses in Portsmouth’s communities, but also the nature of Portsmouth Society in general – for example, blue dots for sailors and red dots for soldiers.
- See Where the Bombs Fell on London During the Blitz (gizmodo.co.uk)
- It’s amazing London survived… interactive map shows where every Blitz bomb dropped (standard.co.uk)
- Map Charts Every WWII Bomb Strike in London (news.sky.com)
- VIDEO: London Blitz bombing map created (bbc.co.uk)
- New BombSight online map shows World War Two strikes in London (metro.co.uk)
- Blitzed: Incredible map shows every bomb dropped on London (mirror.co.uk)
- Blitz interactive map unveiled (bbc.co.uk)
- New interactive map shows where the Blitz bombs fell (itv.com)