Dan Steele

Photographic Colourist

V-1 flying bomb devastation near Gipsy Hill, London, July 1944

A scene of devastation in the Gipsy Hill area, caused by one of 125 V-1 Flying Bombs to land in South London that same week. A volunteer from American Ambulance Great Britain delicately collects belongings from the debris, whilst Civil Defence works search for survivors in the background. July 1944

Colour by Dan Steele

In the early hours of 1st July 1944 one of the most feared weapons of the Second World War, cut engine and plummeted down on a residential area of Gipsy Hill. It was one of 125 that were recorded to have landed in South London that week alone1. The toll was immense, hundreds killed, thousands wounded and many made homeless.

The photograph shows just how much devastation the V-1 Flying Bomb could cause, with whole buildings reduced to a pile of rubble, tattered belongings and worse…

In the foreground of the image we see a volunteer from the American Ambulance Great Britain, denoted by the acronym A.A.G.B. on the front of her steel helmet. She is delicately collecting belongings from what is left of what would have been someones home just hours before.

In the background are members of the Civil Defence who are searching through the debris for any survivors. Judging by the looks from some, there may have been a breakthrough in the background.

“A member of the American Ambulance Great Britain collects up a few of the salvageable personal belongings from the rubble of a home following a devastating V1 attack in the Highland Road and Lunham Road area of Upper Norwood. Behind her, other Civil Defence workers can be seen, searching amongst the brick rubble, timber and debris for survivors”. © IWM D 21217
  1. http://www.flyingbombsandrockets.com/V1_worst_week.html

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