A packed Public Meeting heard Alf Morris, survivor of the WW2 Bethnal green Tube disaster, ask for a permanent memorial to be located near to the spot of the tragedy where 173 Men, Women and Children lost their lives.
Alf's story .....
The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster
"On most days us children would start lining up outside the tube entrance from about 4.30pm until 6.30pm when it opened, we would then go down the escalators to the platforms and put a blanket down on the spot where we were going to sleep that night.
On the Day of the disaster I was still at home when an air-raid siren sounded just after 8pm, my Mother and Father asked my Aunt, who was living with us in Old Ford Road, to get me down to the shelter quickly so my Aunt and I hurried along, we had already reached the tube staircase, when a searchlight came on catching an aircraft in its beam, all hell broke loose as Ack Ack guns opened fire.
I was already being hurried down the staircase by my Aunt and heard the loud thuds of the rocket guns based at Victoria Park being fired, someone panicked and shouted 'there's a bomb coming' and everyone started to rush forward, by then, we were about the third stair from the bottom.
People started falling so fast
that the whole stairway became blocked and no-one could get up or down, I felt my leg trapped and couldn't move as the crowd fell forward on top of me, my Aunt became seperated and it was only the fast action of an Air Raid Warden called Mrs Chumley that saved my life, she raised me out of the crush of bodies by my hair alone and then managed to loop her arms under mine and drag me clear, My Aunt had thankfully also managed to escape from the tangled mass of bodies but left her coat and shoes behind in getting out, both of us were in a state of shock and were promptly taken to see the Duty Warden.
It was not until about 10pm that evening that the facts of the disaster began to emerge, people were asking the fire officers and wardens questions as they walked through the tunnel, most kept silent so as not to create further panic, so it was not until the next morning that we heard that many of our friends and relatives had been killed the night before, people just stood there in shock and disbelief.
If only that searchlight had not been switched on in Bethnal Green Gardens that particular night, the guns would have stayed silent and people would have calmly walked down the stairway to the shelter as thay had done night after night, what makes this disaster especially hard to bear is that not one bomb dropped here on that fateful night."