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?
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?
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;
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.
My Family History website can be found here:
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