A website has just been launched called Bomb Sight, an interactive map of the bombing of London during the Blitz from October 1940 to June 1941.
During this period, the Luftwaffe bombed London for 57 consecutive nights. More than 20,000 civilians were killed and 1.4 million Londoners were left homeless.
Bomb Sight’s map enables you to zoom in on any part of London and see precisely where the bombs fell. We tend to think that the Blitz took place mainly in the East End, the docks and the City, and indeed those areas suffered most. The reason the maps appear to underestimate the damage done in those parts of London is that they show only where individual high explosive bombs and parachute mines fell. They do not chart the smaller incendiary bombs, which caused wider destruction by starting fires.
For the greatest visual impact, however, zoom out on the map. What is striking is that the whole of Greater London was affected, not just the East End. Not a single neighbourhood, even in the outermost suburbs, was untouched. This was clearly strategic area bombing rather than a campaign focused on specific military or industrial targets.
Zoom in, click on any individual bomb symbol and you can see how the website provides scope to collect photographs and personal memories of each individual incident. Capturing these memories is an urgent historical task, since the Blitz took place 72 years ago and not many witnesses are still alive.
If there are the resources to expand this project to cover the whole of the war and/or the whole of the UK, this would become a remarkable historical resource.