Basil Street- Chelsea’s northern boundary in Knightsbridge

Basil Street in Knightsbridge is the northern boundary of Chelsea and a kind of frontier to Kensington and the City of Westminster.

At one time it was indeed called North Street. It connects Sloane Street with Hans Crescent and runs parallel to the back entrances of the famous Harrods department store to the junction of Hans Road and Walton Place.

Last century my father used to walk this road after getting off the 19 or 22 bus to go to Harrods for his haircut or weekly ritual on a Saturday afternoon of buying seed cake.

Near the junction of Hans Crescent it was the scene of two dreadful atrocities of the twentieth century.

During the Second World War the German Luftwaffe killed 14 people in and around a block of mansion flats by dropping a parachute land mine.

Three Special Operations Executive (SOE) French agents preparing to be flown by Lysander aircraft into occupied France were among the victims.

As they each had cover identities as British Army officers they have the remarkable distinction of each being commemorated two times by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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