Many people have remembered the unfortunate events of the Sandhurst Road School bombing as a drastic and tragic act of wickedness. The Sandhurst Road School bombing occurred at a ‘big’ and ‘imposing’ school on Minard Road in Catford, South East London on Wednesday 20th January 1943 when a German fighter-bomber dropped a ‘500kg’ bomb on the school at approximately 12:30pm. The resulting explosion killed ‘32 children and 6 staff and 60 others injured’ many buried under rubble. Later on a further six children died in hospital. Many questions arise on whether Schumann deliberately ‘targeted’ the school or simply attacked what looked like a large factory. ‘The school was also several storeys high’.
Most raids happened in the night but some were dropped in the day. Witness reports say ‘the planes flew first past the school, and then bombed it on the second run’. The school was surrounded by residential buildings. This suggests the this incident could of also been a mass bombing and it could also be categorised as ‘deliberate’ and most likely to be represented as ‘hunnish brutality’ (described in source B1). Source B2 is taken from the Kentish Mercury which was a newspaper article which was also published 2 days after the bombing. Although it may seem as reliable, the interpretation is weak due to it being biased and censored because government and RAF would want people on the home front to have strong morale.
Due to inefficiencies of the warning systems the air raid siren had not sounded by the time German planes arrived. Many children ‘were having their lunch’ and the attack destroyed the area of the school where they were eating. Mary Burch and Eric Brady were both eyewitnesses. The event was also said to be ‘one that couldn’t be forgotten’ moreover Mary went on to say that ‘it was a feeling that couldn’t be explained’. It is most likely that these German bombers would’ve known about the existence of the school because it could clearly be identified as a school.
A various of sources suggest that the RAF had bombed Berlin 3 days prior to this bombing which was a retaliation raid demanded by Hitler. Before the bombing everything was reported as normal, people were getting on with their daily lifestyles. Morales were high and uplifted. Source B4 explains that the tragedy was indeed deliberate and the civilians questioned the ‘boast’ of Captain Schumann moreover he showed no remorse however this interpretation is also weak because the newspaper quotes the leader in the process of avoiding the decrease of morale.
Courtney from Study Moose
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