27 February 2017

Duke of York's Headquarters targeted by Luftwaffe during World War 2

Map from a former Luftwaffe Gunner (Mail Online) dated November 30, 1941 identifying some of the bombing targets in London.
Map from a former Luftwaffe Navigator (Mail Online) dated November 30, 1941
identifying some of the bombing targets in London.
The Mail Online has an interesting article about an old map that has recently come to light.

The map, which belonged to a Luftwaffe navigator, was found in an attic of a former WW2 air gunner and likely came from a downed Luftwaffe plane.

Dated November 30, 1941, the map identifies some of the key targets for the German bombers.

One of the targets was the Duke of York Headquarters (numbered #56 in the map at right). The online newspaper notes that "The Duke of York’s headquarters in Kensington was identified because the court martials of German spies Josef Jakobs and Theodore Schurch were conducted in the building."

 Not entirely sure this would be accurate. Theodore Schurch wasn't court-martialed until later in the war (after 1941) and the location of Josef's court martial wasn't revealed in any of the contemporary newspaper accounts that I have seen. In all likelihood, the Germans simply identified all military targets of relatively high value.

Map from a former Luftwaffe Navigator (Mail Online) dated November 30, 1941 identifying some of the bombing targets in London.
Map from a former Luftwaffe Navigator (Mail Online) dated November 30, 1941
identifying some of the bombing targets in London.
The map is only one sheet of a series that would have covered the Greater London area. Alas, places like Wellington Barracks and the Tower of London are not on this sheet. The article noted that "One small mercy was that hospitals had a cross through them (pictured at left) so they were off limits for the German bombers." One does wonder why, if that were the case, the Royal Hospital at Chelsea had a box around it and a number associated with it. This would seem to suggest that hospitals were indeed targets, at least some of them.

Map from a former Luftwaffe Navigator (Mail Online) dated November 30, 1941, identifying some of the bombing targets in London.
Map from a former Luftwaffe Navigator (Mail Online) dated
November 30, 1941, identifying some of the bombing targets in London.
On another part of the map, just east of Clapham, Lambeth Hospital has a box around it and a number (#131). In addition, a firehall (#63) was marked as well as a post office (the little bugle shape).

The Mail Online article has a picture that shows the entire map sheet with the accompanying legend. It would, naturally, be interesting to see what is written concerning targets like the Lambeth Hospital, the Royal Hospital (Chelsea) and the firehalls and post offices.

Given that the map is going to be auctioned off, it will be interesting to see how purchases it.



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