By Dick Martin
What did they do with all the rubble left over from the millions of tons of bombs dropped on European cities during World War II? This question was posed by Jose Emilio Hernandez to the staff of WWII magazine in its recent issue (October 2019). According to John Maloney, the former Principal Archaeology Officer of the Museum of London, the rubble had a variety of uses.
Dozens of cities, including London, Warsaw, Dresden, Frankfort, and Berlin, and nearly all other major German cities suffered significant damage or were completely razed. In continental cities, much of the post-bombing rubble was used as hardcore, the foundation upon which concrete or other solid construction materials can be laid for building or rebuilding. Additional bomb rubble was either dumped in old quarries or used for embanking rivers, as barriers against coastal erosion, or to help build up low-lying area of land. So much rubble was dumped in East London marshes, the site of the 2012 Olympic Park, that it has been estimated that it raised the ground by ten feet. Some of the rubble was used as ballast in empty supply ships returning to American to pick up more supplies for the beleaguered Londoners. Rubble was transported by ship to Manhattan in New York where it was offloaded and used as fill to create some new very expensive real estate East of Belleview Hospital between 23rd and 34th Streets, the FDR Drive highway, and Bristol Basin.
Edited by Dick Martin