DAME BARBARA WINDSOR TO ATTEND THE MEMORIAL SERVICE TO MARK THE 73RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE BETHNAL GREEN TUBE SHELTER DISASTER – THE WORST CIVILIAN DISASTER OF WORLD WAR 2
SUNDAY 6TH MARCH AT 2pm AT ST. JOHN ON BETHNAL GREEN CHURCH (NEXT TO BETHNAL GREEN TUBE STATION).
Dame Barbara Windsor will return to her East End roots on Sunday 6th March to join a Memorial Service at St John’s Church (next to Bethnal Green tube station) to mark the 73rd anniversary of the worst civilian disaster of World War 2.
The Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster occurred on 3rd March 1943 in which 173 people died, including 62 children. At the service all 173 names will be read out while 173 candles are lit on the altar. After the service Dame Barbara will be joined by lots of Pearly Kings & Queens, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs, TV DIY expert Tommy Walsh, actress Somi De Souza and local MP Rushanara Ali, as they parade across the road to lay wreaths on the partially built Memorial , to honour those involved in the disaster.
The Memorial honours not just the victims but the injured, the many survivors, the rescuers and Emergency Services personnel (some of whom will also be present). These will include 100 years old Dr. Joan Martin MBE, who was the doctor on duty in A & E at the Queen Elizabeth II children’s hospital on the night of the disaster, survivors and rescuers. More details can be found on our website or by calling Sandra Scotting (details below).
On 3 March 1943 a crowd of people entered the unfinished Bethnal Green tube station which was used at the time as an air-raid shelter. After an anti-aircraft battery launched a salvo of a new type of rockets nearby, the crowd waiting to enter, surged forward. A woman & child tripped on the wet stairs below in the dark. Before they could get up, many others fell on top of them. Within seconds 300 people were crushed into the stairwell. By the time the last person was pulled out 173 of them were dead and over 90 were injured. It turned out to be the worst civilian disaster of World War 2 and not caused by any enemy action as there was no raid over Bethnal Green that night. A fundraising campaign has built two thirds of the beautiful Stairway to Heaven Memorial. It should be finished this summer.
For more details call the charity secretary, Sandra Scotting, on 01474 702513 or 077324 60444. For more information about the disaster visit the website www.stairwaytoheavenmemorial.com or our Facebook