Docklands at War: The Port and East During the Second World War
Even before the start of actual hostilities, the government realised that the Port of London would be a major target for enemy attack. The riverside areas of the lower Thames were densely packed with housing, and commercial or industrial premises. It was therefore inevitable that bombs dropped by enemy aircraft would affect both the port and the people of the docklands communities.
With the threat of air attack, ships carrying foodstuffs were redirected to other safer ports. The huge warehouses in London’s docks, which had previously been used for stockpiling vast supplies of imported meat, dairy produce, grain, sugar, were emptied of much of their stores. Only that required for London and the south east of England was kept – still a vast amount – and most of the provisions unloaded in the docks were quickly carried away by road or rail.