Glimpse history through old images of Hammersmith Bridge, in Greater London.
IRA Bomb! 1939
In the early hours of Wednesday 29th March 1939, two members of the IRA left a suitcase, containing two explosive devices, on Hammersmith Bridge.
Women’s hairdresser Maurice Childs was walking home at 1am from nearby Chiswick. On Hammersmith Bridge, he noticed the suitcase, which had smoke and sparks coming from it, and opened the lid to reveal the bomb inside.
Rather than run, he picked up the suitcase and its contents, and threw them over the side into the River Thames below. This bravery earned him an MBE.
Landing in the river, the first explosition went off, throwing a column of water 60 feet into the air. A few moments later, the second explostion also went off, shattering nearby windows and damaging the bridge’s girders.
Although damaged, Hammersmith Bridge remained open to pedestrians, who filed past the aftermath with great curiosity.
The culprits were later found, with Eddie Connell receiving a 20 year prison sentence, and his accomplice William Browne jailed for 10 years.
Hammersmith Bridge Bombed (1939) – British Pathé on YouTube