What Was Life Like During the Blitz?

Prior to this bombing raid in the early hours of 20th April 1941, London was in the middle of its biggest bombing campaign of the entire war. Known as the Blitz, for eight months, from 7th September 1940 to 11th May 1941, London suffered almost continual nightly bombing from the German Luftwafe. Over a period of almost 37 weeks, the British capital was attacked an incredible 71 times.

So what was life like during the Blitz?

Children-remains-home-London-suburbs-1940

Authorities had quickly acted and implemented plans to protect Londoners from the threat of the nightly raids. Funds were made available to local authorities to construct public Air Raid Shelters. The Air Raid Precautions department also distributed around two million Anderson Shelters to be used by families in their own gardens. These shelters were made of corrugated steel and were designed to be ‘dug into a garden’ and partially covered again with dirt. Although these shelters provided decent protection from bomb fragments and debris, they were dark, cold, damp and not really designed for any prolonged occupancy and the stuff of nightmares for those of a weak disposition. We often hear  family stories which are about fond memories of these times and no doubt there was an ‘air’ of what was to become known as ‘The Blitz Spirit’. No doubt some people felt more patriotic during the war than before. But are we looking back through ‘Rose Tinted Spectacles’? Are we forgetting the many nuanced experiences of those who lived through the Blitz?

Firemen-work-street-raid-London-1941

For more detailed research for this project, I have been listening to some podcasts and reading up about the Blitz and how it affected families. My good friend and genealogy buddy Natalie Pithers of Genealogy Stories has been creating some wonderful podcasts and recently she had the pleasure of interviewing accomplished Author, Naomi Clifford, about her upcoming new book titled:

“Under Fire: The Blitz Diaries of a Volunteer Ambulance Driver”. The book is due out on 7th September and details about Naomi’s book and all of her upcoming talks and blog can be found on Naomi’s website;

Naomi Clifford and the link to Naomi’s latest book Under Fire can also be found there.

Screenshot 2021-09-03 at 13.30.11

If you want to get a better feeling for what life was like on the ‘Home Front’ and a real insight into the true ‘Blitz Spirit’, then why not listen to Natalie and Naomi’s chat on Natalie’s YouTube Channel.

The link to Natalie’s YouTube Channel can be found here;

“Talking about life on the World War 2 home front Natalie Pithers and Naomi Clifford YouTube.

This interview and narrative will give you a much broader and greater sense of what life would have been like during the Blitz.

Ruins-South-Hallsville-School-Canning-Town-London-World-War-II

My Family History website can be found here:

https://chiddicksfamilytree.com

All My Blogs For Family Tree Magazine in one Handy Place

Copyright © 2021 Paul Chiddicks | All rights reserved

4 thoughts on “What Was Life Like During the Blitz?

  1. Brilliant blog yet again Paul. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve often heard tales of the ‘Blitz spirit’, how people were determined to get on with their lives and not let the Nazis stop them; yet it must have been a terribly scary, unsettling time. I agree, there is probably an element of ‘rose-tinted spectacles’.
    Incidentally, I had an Anderson shelter in my garden at my old house. We took it down because we thought it might be dangerous for little children – it was almost industructable!!! It took 5 angle grinder discs to cut the corrugated iron down!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kelly, i think whenever we look at any apsect of History or even our own lives, we only remember either the good moments or the significant moments, the rest of our memory is pushed to the back. Take for example the school summer holidays, we all remember them as six weeks of glorious sunshine and that we played out every day until it got dark. Reality is the summers were just as awful then as they are now, we cherry pick our memories sometimes. My Grandad also had an Anderson shelter in his garden and we used it as our “Den”, we thought it was great to camp out in there. Reality is it was probably damp, smelly and full of rats!

      Liked by 1 person

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