The approach of Remembrance Sunday this weekend has got me thinking about what life would have been like in wartime Greenwich. For the vast majority of us the thought of air raids and evacuations taking place on our doorstep is pretty fantastical, but only 70 years ago it was all too real. Greenwich's proximity to trade hub the Isle of Dogs and its military focal points made the town an attractive target for German bombers during the Blitz of WW2. Scores of residents were evacuated and even the park was not untouched - the flower gardens were used to house anti-aircraft guns and the trees were clipped to allow the guns a better firing range. Greenwich Cemetery is known to house over 700 war graves, many of them unidentified soldiers.
In memory of those lost, Remembrance Sunday services are taking place at churches across the borough including St Alfege's and Holy Trinity (at the Millennium Primary School) in East Greenwich. There are wreath-laying ceremonies at Charlton, Blackheath and Plumstead on Saturday morning, and Eltham and Abbey Wood on Sunday (full details of all ceremonies here). St Alfege's are also marking the occasion with Songs of War and Remembrance on Saturday evening and the Firepower museum in Woolwich is holding a multi-faith remembrance event on Sunday.
Happily, these days the only explosions you're likely to hear in Greenwich are much more friendly ones. Yes it's the annual Blackheath fireworks display, which this year takes place on Saturday evening at 8pm. With Greenwich's jam-prone infrastructure, lack of parking space and the questionable reliability of the number 286 bus, I'd highly recommend walking there and be aware that you are not allowed to take your own sparklers. On the plus side this yearly tradition, now co-financed by Lewisham and Greenwich borough councils, will no doubt be a good show, with 30 minutes of uninterrupted fireworks to tire even the keenest rocket enthusiasts.
What else is happening in Greenwich this week? Add other events in the comments below...