Big Guns on Clapham Common

Guns on Clapham Common

Every now and then something comes along that makes Love Clapham go “holy crap” and this picture is one of them, found in a book by Clapper Christopher Anderson. During World War II, Clapham Common was used for more than buff posturing joggers, it was the location of four large anti-aircraft guns (pictured above). In the picture you can also see trenches, huts and possibly soldiers doing exercises. This is so far removed from the Clapham Common of today it’s hard to comprehend what it was like. Thankfully, the BBC has a report from a lady called Jean Vines who lived in the area at the time. Jean talks about cycling across Clapham Common to get to school with a very real “danger of being hit by shrapnel from the four big guns on Clapham Common”. Fascinating!

4 thoughts on “Big Guns on Clapham Common

  1. Yes, probably! In the background I think I can make out the old hotel in the middle of the North side of the common… but it would definitely make sense. Strange that they wouldn’t just flatten them out again though.

  2. I think they were probably more interested in building houses and rehoming and feeding people than flattening lumps on a common, did anyone see the Time Team programme on Shooters Hill in London? Pretty sure those lumps of concrete I have tripped over on many occasions were part of the moorings for our own barrage balloon. So key defence for our city if the Nazi’s had invaded.

  3. Thank you for posting this pic; one of my late father’s many ack-ack (anti-aircraft battery) postings while in the Royal Artillery during the war was as a member of the gun crew at the above gun-site. Before he died in ’07 I recorded his war memories which included his recollections of “firing for three days and nights non-stop” as the city was bombed. Being green-fingered he also dug and planted a garden-plot within the perimeter wire. He also recalls being ‘on the khazi’ when a doodlebug (V1) hit nearby sucking out the windows and “dropping them down to the ground as if placed there”. He ‘confessed’ the presence of the gun-site meant a lot of metal went up and came down but the local people expressed their gratitude nonetheless. He ended his six years of war service in India back in the infantry. All this seems so far removed from ‘our world’ today doesn’t it? Happy Christmas to you all!

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