P R E S S R E L E A S E:
The 71st Anniversary Memorial Service to honour the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster – the worst civilian disaster of WW2.
This will be held on Sunday 2nd March at St. John on Bethnal Green Church (next door to Bethnal Green underground station) at 2pm. Survivors, relatives of the victims, rescuers and others, will come together to remember the ‘forgotten disaster’ and be available to interview.
173 candles will be lit on the altar during the reading of the names of all the victims.
Taking part will be local MP Rushanara Ali, London Assembly Member for City & East, John Biggs (also a candidate for Mayor of LBTH against the current Mayor, Lutfur Rahman), Patron of the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust, Tommy Walsh (TVs DIY expert, ex Ground Force), Members of Tower Hamlets Council – including the Speaker, Cllr. Lesley Pavitt, many Pearly Kings & Queens, and representatives from the Police, Civil Defence and Fire Service who will honour their former comrades that worked tirelessly through the night pulling out people from the crush, not knowing if their own family and friends would be among the dead and injured.
After the Service everyone will parade across the road to the partially built Stairway to Heaven Memorial to lay wreaths and then return to the church where refreshments will be available. Pete Sceats will perform two songs he has written about the disaster and the recently discovered Government cover-up. Survivors and others connected to the disaster will be available for interview.
It was on 3rd March 1943 that a crush of people entering the station, being used as a shelter, led to 173 people dying and over 90 injured within a few seconds. Sixty two of those were children. It turned out to be the worst civilian disaster of World War 2 and was not caused by enemy action. It was kept secret at the time, apparently to prevent enemy propaganda and loss of morale, but we now know that it also prevented the Home Secretary of the day from having to resign.
The charity is still raising funds to complete the Memorial as quickly as possible, but have had no help from the Government or Mayor Boris Johnson.
For more information call Sandra Scotting (Hon. Sec) on 01474 702513 or 077324 60444