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Surrey Commercial Docks, Enemy Action September 7 1940

Relentless, dramatic footage of the fires and aftermath caused by bombing of Surrey Commercial Dock by the Luftwaffe on the first day of the Blitz.

1940 23 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


This is a compelling 22 minutes London burning, showing the extent of the damage caused by German bombs to the Surrey Commercial Docks on 7 September 1940, the first day of the Blitz. Some historians have described this as the most intense single blaze ever seen in Britain, with 350,000 tons of timber burnt and dozens of buildings destroyed. Firefighters are shown tackling the fire and exploring the ruined landscape afterwards. The scale of destruction is extraordinary.

This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.