Saturday, 21 October 2006

some local colour

Two local stories relating to Saturday 14 October 2006.

Memorial unveiled to victims of Blitz entombed in park shelter
The mass grave of scores of unidentified victims of one of the worst civilian disasters of the Blitz, forgotten except by those still living in the surrounding streets, will finally be marked today.
The memorial is in Kennington Park, south London, where a 50lb German bomb fell directly on to a trench shelter on October 15 1940. That night, rescuers dug as the walls fell in around them, but only managed to remove 48 identifiable bodies of the estimated 104 victims. The rest were covered in lime, and the trenches filled in on top of them. They still lie buried below the grass.
The complex of shelter trenches, like those dug in several London parks, were lined with timber, and later with thin concrete slabs, roofed with timber and earth. They flooded from the start and there were always doubts about their strength.
The tragedy is not in any accounts of the worst civilian disasters of the Blitz. However, in the streets around the park, it remains vivid oral history to this day.
Kay Coster, a guest of honour at today's ceremony, only learned the details in the years before her father's death in 2002, after decades when he could not bear to speak of it. James Holland was 14 when he rushed to the park with his parents. They both died, and he was the last person dragged out alive, badly injured.
- The Guardian

Clubber critical after shooting
A man who was shot in the head when he was caught in the crossfire of a shooting outside a club is in a critical condition.
He was hit when a man opened fire near the Ministry of Salsa nightclub in Walworth Road, south London. Moments earlier the gunman had shot another man who had left the nearby Ivory Arch club. He was shot in the buttock and is in a stable condition. As the first victim fled the gunman chased him and continued firing. During the chase in the Elephant & Castle area, he shot the second victim, a 26-year-old man, in the head. The injured man was taken to hospital where he is in a critical condition. The first victim, aged 28, made his own way to hospital and is in a stable condition. Detectives from Operation Trident, the Metropolitan police initiative to fight gun crime in London's black communities, are investigating the case.

Lots of police tape up on Sunday (outside Ivory Arch and Ministry of Salsa), even more by Monday morning (all the open space between the shops and the entrance to the subways), but gone by Monday evening except just outside the Ivory Arch. The yellow police incident boards from last month's serious assault outside the Ivory Arch were still up. Never been to the nightclub, but they do good Indian takeaways.

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