New Cross November 1944. The gap on the left is all the remains of
Woolworth's. The badly damaged Co-op in on the right
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Contemporary reports from a number of witnesses indicate that the V2 had been seen in its last moments of flight, a line
drawn across the grey November sky.
The store bulged outwards and then imploded and in the carnage 168 people were killed and 121 were seriously injured.  It
was the 251'st Rocket to be successfully launched. This was the worst tragedy in the entire V weapon campaign and one of
the worst civilian disasters of World War II.
As the store exploded there was blinding flash of light and an enormous roar followed by a dense cloud of smoke and
powdered dust. Witnesses several hundred yards away felt the warm blast on their faces,some were physically pushed
backward by its force. The Co-Op Store next door also collapsed killing more people inside. The bodies of passers by were
flung for great distances, and an army lorry was overturned and destroyed killing its occupants. A double decker bus was
spun round causing yet more deaths and injuries,its occupants were seen still sitting in their seats covered in dust..
There were piles of masonry and pieces of bodies all around, where Woolworth's had been was just an enormous gap.
The debris stretched from the Town Hall to New Cross Gate station and it was to take 3 days to clear this and to retrieve
all the bodies from the debris.Today the site has been totally re-developed  but the extent of the damage area can be seen
from where the new buildings commence both in the New Cross Road and in surrounding streets. Lewisham council have
erected a blue plaque on the building to commemorate the tragedy.
On the 25th November 1944 New Cross High Street was busy with South Londoners . Woolworth's on the corner of
Goodwood Road, and the adjacent Co-op were packed with shoppers. One report mentions that a sought after supply of
saucepans had become available and many were queuing outside Woolworth's in the hope of being able to purchase one. At
12.26 PM there was an enormous explosion as a V2 Rocket impacted into the Woolworth's store
New Cross Woolworth's
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