On the night of Tuesday November, 12 1940, London was the main target of German bombing raids. A number of properties in Islington were hit. Twenty-five residents were killed. Among them, 17 men of the Royal Air Force’s 907 Balloon Squadron [a barrage balloon unit] who were killed in their billet at 26 Highbury Grove. According to reports, the casualties were identifed by the unit’s Medical Officer, who had travelled to the scene from the Squadron’s base at Woodberry Down. It must have been a gruesome task as many of the dead could only be identified by parts of their uniform, or from personal items in the pockets of their uniforms.
One of the dead was Aircraftman 2nd Class, Maurice Bernstein. A member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve [RAFVR], Maurice was the son of Joseph and Betsy Bernstein of Higher Crumpsall, Manchester. His body was returned to his parents in Manchester and buried in Blackley Jewish Cemetery. His grave is marked with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.