AIR RAID ON LYDIA STREET
by Tony Storey
This article was originally published in the August 2010 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
People salvage their belongings after being bombed out of their homes in Lydia Street, off White Horse Lane, Stepney, September 1940
John Soul was born on 8 December 1877 at 6 Hague Place, Mile End, Middlesex. John was the last of eight children born to William Soul, a carter's labourer and firewood hawker, and his wife Harriet, nee Causton.
In 1881 the family lived at 6 Dinah Row, Mile End Old Town and by 1891 had moved to 1 Edgar Place, Mile End Old Town. In 1901 John was working as a carman but still living with his parents and his older sister Martha at 30 Allas Road, Bethnal Green.
When John's father died in 1920, his address was recorded as 15 Lydia Street, Mile End Old Town and it seems this was to be John's home for the rest of his life.
Because of its proximity to London's docks the area, now more usually called Stepney, received more than its share of attention from the Luftwaffe. The Battle of Britain reached its climax in the first half of September 1940 and it was on the first day of that month that 15 Lydia Street was all but destroyed by enemy bombs.
John Soul died of his injuries five days later. Under the heading of informant his death certificate states that 'certificate received from Clerk to the Stepney Borough'. Cause of death is 'due to war operations (victim of an air raid on Lydia Street)'.
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