Reference HO 205/232
Title Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster: draft report
Former Department Reference O and O GEN 275/5
Government Department Ministry of Home Security
Themes Military Activity and Home Defence, Bombing and Attacks on the Population
Subthemes Air Raid Precautions and Civil Defence, Casualties and injuries, Air raid shelters
Document Types Reports and Surveys, Statistical Data
Civil Defence Regions Region 5: London
Locations Berlin, Bethnal Green
Organisations Borough Councils


A file of documents relating to a draft report on the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster. Subjects discussed in the file include background information on Bethnal Green, including the demographics and housing structure; issues in the construction of the shelter, including the entrance surroundings and staircase; the behaviour of people during air-raid alerts, including nervousness, rushing to the shelter, and loss of self-control; a synopsis of the disaster, including the piling of bodies on the landing; and the number of casualties, including fatalities. Other subjects discussed include the deficiencies of the shelter arrangements, including the lack of enough police and air-raid wardens due to the call-up; the performance of the rescue services, including ambulances; the alleged inducement of panic among certain groups; the occupants' ignorance of the anti-aircraft defences; the response time of the ambulance services; and recommendations to improve the shelter's entrance, including structural reinforcements.


accommodation, administration, air raids, air-raid precautions, air-raid shelter conditions, air-raid shelters, air-raid wardens, air-raid warnings, ambulances, anti-aircraft defences, bedding, bomb damage, children, civilian casualties, communications, conscription, construction, construction materials, crime, death rate, demographics, employment, engineering, evacuation, family, Fascism, finance, first aid, grants, healthcare, hospitals, housing, infrastructure, Jews, lighting, local authorities, London Underground, medical supplies, mortuaries, mothers, motor vehicles, nurses, overcrowding, parents, police, population decline, prices, public health, public morale, railway stations, rescue, salvage, social class, statistics, telephonic communications, timber, volunteers, weather

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