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Hoeveel tyd het mense gehad om tydens die Blitz in 1940-41 skuiling te vind?

Hoeveel tyd het mense gehad om tydens die Blitz in 1940-41 skuiling te vind?

Birmingham: In 'n BBC History -artikel, 'N Lugaanval -voorval uit die Tweede Wêreldoorlog oor die ervarings van 'n Birmingham -tiener tydens die Birmingham Blitz, sê die skrywer (my beklemtoning):

Sodra die sirene klink, berei pappa hom voor om die huis te verlaat en 'n paar kussings en 'n klein lampie saam met hom te neem, plus 'n paar kans. Ma maak dan 'n fles tee of koffie en soms sop, 'n paar toebroodjies en 'n koekblik vol koekies.

Dit lyk asof hierdie gesin darem nie te haastig was om skuiling te neem nie (selfs al het die water al gekook). Let ook op die gebruik van die gewone 'wil', wat impliseer dat dit voorspelbaar is.

Londen: Uit wat ek gelees het oor die London Blitz (7 September 1940 - 11 Mei 1941), is daar min inligting oor hoeveel tyd mense in Londen moes skuil. Op grond van wat my ma vir my gesê het - sy was tydens 'n deel van die Blitz in Londen (naby Lord's krieketveld) - die tyd tussen die sirene wat afgaan en die eerste bomme val, was baie inkonsekwent. My ma was destyds net 8 of 9, dit was lank gelede, en sy was nie gedurende die hele Blitz in Londen nie, so sy weet nie al die besonderhede nie.


Lugaanvalle (en dus sirenes) kan die hele nag aan en af ​​wees en die waarskuwingstelsels was ondoeltreffend in Londen (hoewel dit vermoedelik na 'n tyd verbeter het). Londen was op sy beste moeilik. Daar was ook blykbaar twee waarskuwingsirenades vir 'mense wat belangrike oorlogswerk doen', so die 'reëls' was nie dieselfde vir almal nie.

In Birmingham blyk dit egter dat die enigste bewys wat ek kon opspoor, impliseer dat die tyd wat 'n mens moes skuil, meer voorspelbaar was.

My vrae:

1. Kan iemand bevestig dat die tyd wat 'n mens moes skuil in Londen tydens die Blitz (7 September 1940 - 11 Mei 1941) onvoorspelbaar was?

2. Was hierdie keer in Birmingham meer voorspelbaar? Indien wel, is dit moontlik om ongeveer te sê hoeveel tyd mense gehad het?


Nota: ek sal ook belangstel in waarskuwingstye in Liverpool, Plymouth of Exeter as iemand inligting het oor hierdie stede. Die tydperk moet egter 1940-41 wees, en ek vra nie oor die V-2-vuurpyl van 1945 nie, aangesien dit algemeen bekend is dat dit geen waarskuwing gegee het nie.


Meer raai as die werklike antwoord ...

Een datapunt is die vliegtuie wat gebruik word. Afhangende van die model, het die Duitse bomwerpers 'n topvlugspoed van ongeveer 300km/h tot ongeveer 500km/h gehad. Hulle is deur vegters begelei en daar kan hondegevegte wees voordat hulle hul teikens bereik, so dit is waarskynlik verstandig om dit as 'n maksimum naderingspoed te beskou.

'N Ander datapunt is die omvang van die radarbedekking. As die kaart iets is om deur te gaan, en afhangende van die tydstip, sal vliegtuie op sy beste ongeveer 150 km van die kus af opgespoor word, en as dit in die ergste geval amper oor die land is.

Anders gestel, in die rooskleurigste moontlike omstandighede - dit is ongemerk tot naby Britse grond en volspoed vorentoe vlieg sonder 'n RAF -ontvangskomitee - sou 'n Luftwaffe -bomwerper teoreties binne 'n dosyn minute oor Londen wees en oor Birmingham oor 'n halfuur uur. In die praktyk sou radar die vliegtuig 'n halfuur vroeër in beide gevalle opspoor en sou die RAF probeer om die Luftwaffe te onderskep.

Daar is ook 'n praktiese bekommernis, wat 'n ander groot onbekende in die agterkant van die koevertberekening bekendstel. Dit het naamlik gesê hoe lank dit geneem het voordat militêre personeel die alarmstelsels op die een of ander plek in werking gestel het - daar is immers geen sin om sirenes in verre stede soos Birmingham te laat loop totdat dit vasgestel is dat dit 'n moontlike teiken is nie.


Hoeveel tyd het mense gehad om tydens die Blitz in 1940-41 skuiling te vind? - Geskiedenis

Anderson Shelters - Geskiedenis

In November 1938 het premier Neville Chamberlain sir John Anderson in beheer gestel van voorsorgmaatreëls vir lugaanvalle. Sir John was 'n wetenskaplike wat 'n politikus geword het, wat die ministerie van binnelandse veiligheid gelei het, wie se verantwoordelikhede alle sentrale en streeks burgerlike verdedigingsorganisasies dek, soos lugaanvalle, reddingsgroepe, brandweerdienste en die Women & rsquos Voluntary Service. Dit was ook verantwoordelik vir die verskaffing van openbare skuilings.

Anderson het die ingenieur William Patterson opdrag gegee om 'n klein en goedkoop skuiling te ontwerp wat in mense se tuine opgerig kan word. Die eerste 'Anderson' -skuiling is op 25 Februarie 1939 in 'n tuin in Islington, Londen, opgerig en tussen die en tot die uitbreek van die oorlog in September is ongeveer 1,5 miljoen skuilings versprei aan mense wat woon in gebiede wat na verwagting deur die Luftwaffe gebombardeer sal word. . Tydens die oorlog is 'n verdere 2,1 miljoen opgerig.

Anderson -skuilings is gratis uitgereik aan alle huishoudings wat minder as £ 250 per jaar verdien, en diegene met 'n hoër inkomste is £ 7 betaal. (Die ekwivalente syfers beloop ongeveer £ 17,000 en £ 470 in 2020.)

Die foto aan die regterkant is geneem in Islington, Londen in 1939. Klik daarop om 'n groter en effens ander (en minder geposeerde) weergawe te sien.

Die skuiling is gemaak van ses geboë velle wat aan die bokant vasgebout is, met staalplate aan weerskante en met 'n lengte van 1,95 x 1,35 m. Dit kan vier volwassenes en twee kinders huisves. Die skuilings was half in die grond begrawe met aarde bo -op.

Ek verstaan ​​- alhoewel ek nie die detail gesien het nie - dat die skuilings later in die oorlog gratis aan alle huishoudings uitgereik is. Voorheen het huishoudings wat gratis skuilings gekry het (en wat nie groot gesinne gehad het nie) soms hul bure wat beter was, toegelaat om dit te deel.

Die skuilings was baie sterk - veral teen 'n drukkrag soos van 'n bom in die omgewing - as gevolg van die golf. Klik hier vir meer inligting oor hul sterkte en duursaamheid. En hul konstruksie -instruksies is hier.

Anderson -skuilings was slegs effektief as dit half in die grond begrawe was en bedek was met 'n dik laag aarde. Hulle was dus inherent koud, donker en klam. In laagliggende gebiede was die skuilings geneig om te oorstroom, en slaap was moeilik, aangesien die skuilings nie die geluid van die bombardemente uitgehou het nie. Gesinne moes hul eie stapelbeddens bou of klaargemaakte koop. As daar hoegenaamd 'n toilet was, het dit die vorm aanneem in die hoek.

Alhoewel sommige gesinne elke aand daarin geslaap het, was die meeste mense egter huiwerig om dit te gebruik, behalwe nadat die sirenes van die lugaanval geblaas het - en dikwels ook nie dan nie. Mense word aanbeveel om belangrike dokumente saam te neem, soos geboorte- en huweliksertifikate en poskantoorbesparingsboeke. Maar dit was moeilik om te onthou wat om te doen toe u pas uit 'n diep slaap wakker geword het, dit was heeltemal donker en die sirenes huil.

Hier is 'n lugfoto van 'n terras in die Nine Elms in Londen teen die einde van die oorlog. Onderaan die prentjie kan twee skuilings gesien word.

'N Ander probleem was dat die meerderheid mense wat in nywerheidsgebiede woon, nie tuine het waar hulle hul skuilings kan oprig nie. Dit is dus nie verbasend dat 'n opname in November 1940 bevind het dat slegs 27% van die Londense inwoners Anderson -skuilings gebruik het, 9% in openbare skuilings geslaap het en 4% ondergrondse treinstasies gebruik het. Die res van die ondervraes was snags aan diens of het in hul eie huise geslaap. Laasgenoemde groep het gevoel dat as hulle sou sterf, hulle eerder gemaklik sou sterf.

Baie gesinne het hul skuilings op verskillende maniere probeer verhelder, en hulle het gereeld blomme en groente op die dak gekweek. Een persoon het geskryf dat & quotDaar is 'n groter gevaar dat 'n groentemurg van die dak af val. as om deur 'n bom getref te word! '

@UrbanFoxxxx het hierdie twee heerlike foto's ontdek en bewys, soos sy gesê het, dat 'n Engelsman se Anderson -skuiling sy kasteel is, en dat hy dit binne 'n sentimeter van sy lewe kan versier as hy dit wil & quot. Ek hou veral van die spottende Tudor -effek, so geliefd onder beduidende voorstedelike inwoners. (U kan op albei foto's klik om dit te vergroot.)

In die beste modus "Hou kalm en hou aan!", 'N 1940 -uitgawe van Goeie huishouding tydskrif bevat 'n resep en versieringsinstruksies vir hierdie kerskoek.

Maar ander was meer senuweeagtig - en met 'n goeie doel. Nadat 'n valskermbom 'n nabygeleë skool getref het, het 'n stel Bournemouth -ouers - die Heaths - besluit om hul skuiling binnenshuis op te rig en dit met sandsakke te bedek. Die pragtige foto hieronder is vriendelik deur David Heath (regs bo) saam met sy broer en suster aan my gestuur, en almal lyk beslis nie bang nie!

Die sinkplate van die meeste skuilings is aan die einde van die oorlog deur die owerhede versamel. Ander is vir £ 1 elk aan die huishoudings verkoop. Dit is dikwels opgegrawe en weer bo die grond opgerig, met behoorlike houtdeure toegerus en as werkswinkels of tuinhokke gebruik. Klik hier vir meer inligting en 'n paar foto's.

John Summers en seuns

Hierdie staalvervaardigingsonderneming het 'n groot staalmeule in Shotton in Noord -Wallis. Sy amptelike geskiedenis teken dit op

Selfs voor die amptelike verklaring van vyandelikhede, het die werke oorgegaan na die vervaardiging van gegalvaniseerde lakens vir Anderson -tuine vir lugaanvalle, wat dit teen 50 000 per week vervaardig. Prototipes is getoets in die General Office -gebied waar lugbomme wat 500 pond weeg, binne 25 voet van 'n groep skuilings ontplof is en 75 ton varkyster op 'n skuilingsdak gestapel is. Een dapper vrywilliger het in 'n skuiling gegaan terwyl 'n swaar betonbal, wat gewoonlik gebruik word om slakke op te breek, daarop neergegooi is! Die skuiling was feitlik onbeskadig en die vrywilliger het oorleef om die verhaal te vertel.

Die Anderson -lugaanval, gemaak van geboë gegolfde staalplaat, het baie lewens gered tydens die Blitz van die groot stede. Die struktuur, wat vroeg in 1939 deur die British Steelworks Association ontwerp is, was 6 voet lank, 6 voet hoog en 6 voet breed en gemaak van gegalvaniseerde staalplaat van 14 meter. Dit is in die grond gesink tot 'n diepte van drie voet. & Quot

Die onderneming het selfs sy eie skuilings ontwerp, wat verbeter het met die standaard Anderson -ontwerp deur halfsirkelvormige velle te vervaardig wat nie aan die bokant vasgemaak moes word nie, en dus makliker kon word. Hier is 'n foto van een van hulle.

Notas

Die skuilings wat nog in hul oorspronklike posisie is, en wat die skrywer van hierdie webwerf ken, word gelys in die boks 'Foto's en besoeke' op die tuisblad.

Daar is talle foto's uit die oorlog van Anderson -skuilings op die internet, byvoorbeeld toeganklik deur Google/Images te gebruik.

Ondanks Hitler se bevel dat hy alleen sou besluit oor terreuraanvalle, tree 100 vliegtuie van die Luftwaffe op, blykbaar, onder 'n los bewoordde opdrag van G & oumlring. het die East End van Londen op die nag van 24 Augustus 1940 aangeval. Ter weerwraak het die POF die volgende nag die eerste Britse bombardemente op Berlyn uitgevoer. Hitler beskou die bombardement van Berlyn as 'n skande. . sy reaksie was om met groot vergelding te dreig. . Vanaf 7 September het die nagtelike bombardement van Londen begin. & Quot - Ian Kershaw 'Hitler' p570.

By die Duitse strategiese bombardement van die VK tussen 1939 en 1945 is ongeveer 50 000 mense dood. Londen, Liverpool en Birmingham was die stede wat die meeste gebombardeer is, in daardie volgorde. Hier, aan die linkerkant, is 'n 1945 -aansig van die gebied rondom die St Paul's Cathedral in Londen. Klik op die prentjie om 'n veel groter weergawe te sien.

Soortgelyke aanvalle op Duitse stede het ongeveer 500 000 doodgemaak - tien keer soveel. Baie van die latere aanvalle is deur Brittanje uitgevoer Bomber kommando wat self 50 000 bemanningslede in die konflik verloor het. Die enkele atoombom wat op Hiroshima neergesit is, het tussen 90 000 en 140 000 Japannese doodgemaak.

Die V2-vuurpylbom het ongeveer 2 700 in Engeland doodgemaak en ongeveer 20 000 huise vernietig en nog 580 000 deur hul enorme skokgolwe beskadig.

In totaal, tydens die oorlog, is ongeveer 220 000 Britse wonings vernietig of so erg beskadig dat dit gesloop moes word. Minstens 3,5 miljoen mense het een of ander vorm van skade gely. Ongeveer 30% van die land se vooroorlogse huisvoorraad is op een of ander manier geraak.

Vir elke burger wat vermoor is, is 35 deur die blits uit hul huise gedwing.

Daar is nou 'n sterk opinie wat meen dat dit 'n fout was dat die regering Anderson-skuilings voorsien eerder as om diep bomvaste openbare skuilings te bou van die soort wat deur Ramon Perera bevorder is, wat toesig gehou het oor die bou van 'n groot aantal sulke skuilings in Katalonië tydens die Spaanse Burgeroorlog (1936-1939). Die Britse ingenieur Cyril Helsby het Perera gehelp om na Brittanje te ontsnap, terwyl Barcelona in 1939 onder die troepe van Franco val, maar nie een van die Britse vestigings kon oorreed om te belê in aansienliker skuilings wat baie lewens sou kon red nie.

Dit is moontlik dat ministers gedink het dat fabrieke, vervoer en ander werkers verkies om in veilige skuilings te bly eerder as om terug te gaan werk nadat bomme opgehou het om te val, alhoewel daar geen bewyse was dat dit in Barcelona gebeur het nie. Die volledige verhaal is vertel in 'n TV de Catalunya & quot30 Minuts & quot -dokumentêr, vervaardig in samewerking met Justin Webster Productions en die eerste keer op Spaanse TV in 2006 vertoon.

Verslae oor die 'Blitz Spirit' en alles wat versigtig ontvang moet word. Die geskiedenis word immers deur oorwinnaars en oorlewendes geskryf. Mense was nie 'heroïes' nie. Hulle het geen ander keuse gehad as om hul bes te doen om in 'n vreeslike tyd te oorleef nie. Sommige het gevoel dat hulle deur die regering verlaat is, en sommige Londenaars het aangedring om in metrostasies te bly, al was dit aanvanklik uitdruklik verbied. Ander het gekreun oor die verduistering en ander beperkings wat gelei het tot meer sterftes as gevolg van val en padongelukke. Maar die regering het alles gedoen om nuttige advies en inligting te verskaf, soos hierdie plakkate:

Vir meer inligting beveel ek Richard Overy se artikel The Dangers of the Blitz Spirit aan.

Hier is 'n interessante dubbelbladsy van die Illustrated London News van 24 Augustus 1940. Klik op die prentjie om 'n groter weergawe te sien.

Laastens - maar nie die minste nie - hier is die 'London Pride' van Noel Coward wat in die lente van 1941 geskryf is. Volgens sy eie beskikking het Coward op 'n sitplek op 'n perron van 'n beskadigde treinstasie in Londen gesit en is 'oorweldig deur 'n golf van sentimentele trots ". Klik op hierdie reghoek om dit te hoor.

As gevolg van ander verpligtinge, kan ek nie meer verdere materiaal by hierdie webwerf voeg nie, tensy dit 'n standaard of byna standaard Anderson-skuiling het wat nog in sy oorspronklike posisie is. Stuur my 'n e -pos as u belangstel om hierdie webwerf te redigeer.


Hoe was die lewe tydens die London Blitz

Gedurende die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het meer as 150 000 mense elke aand skuiling gesoek in Londen se metrostasies. Mettertyd het die verskillende stasies hul eie mini-regerings ontwikkel.

Byna tagtig jaar later en 'n see weg, kyk die meeste Amerikaners terug op die London Blitz as 'n tyd toe burgerlikes oor sosiale grense bymekaarkom, hul bolippe styf hou en weier om paniekerig te raak. Die realiteit, verduidelik historikus Geoffrey Field, is 'n meer ingewikkelde verhaal.

Tot 'n mate, skryf Fields, het Londenaars regtig kalm gehou en voortgegaan met 'n slagspreuk wat die publiek nooit tydens die oorlog gesien het nie. Psigiaters het 'n groot aantal "bomneurose" -gevalle verwag, maar gemiddeld het slegs twee mense per week by die noodkamers opgedaag met ernstige sielkundige simptome. Aan die ander kant was daar baie berigte oor angsaanvalle, tics, maagsere, miskrame en serebrale bloeding.

Watter ellende daar was, was nie gelyk nie. Dit het Britse leiers opgeval dat arm gebiede soos die East End in Londen, waar baie Jode en buitelanders tuis is, onstabiel kan raak tydens 'n bomaanval. En eintlik was dit juis die gebiede wat te min skuilings beland het. Binne die eerste ses weke van die bombardement het groot gedeeltes arbeidersklasbehuise van lae gehalte geval, en 'n kwartmiljoen mense is tydelik dakloos gelaat.

Die regering het aanvanklik probeer om mense te weerhou om die Londense metrostasies as skuilings te gebruik tydens die nagbomaanvalle, maar dit is vinnig gedwing om op te hou. Sommige gesinne het gereeld op stasies opgedaag, ander slegs tydens tye van hewige bombardemente. Tussen 100,000 en 150,000 mense kan op 'n gegewe aand op die stasies gevind word.

Mettertyd het die verskillende stasies hul eie mini-regerings ontwikkel, georganiseer deur geestelikes of lugaanvalbewaarders, of deur die beskermende gesinne self. Mense het gebiede vir rook, kinderspeletjies en slaap opgedeel, versamelings opgeneem om ontsmettingsmiddels te koop en komitees georganiseer om geskille te besleg of die owerheid te druk om verbeterings. Stasiekomitees het selfs konferensies gereël om idees te deel.

Die selforganisering het sommige amptenare bekommerd gemaak. Home Intelligence het berig dat "mense wat in skuilings slaap, meer en meer onderling komitees stig, dikwels kommunisties van aard, om na hul eie belange om te sien en danse en vermaak te reël."

Wil u meer stories soos hierdie hê?

In werklikheid, skryf Field, was die kommunistiese party betrokke by sommige skuilingskomitees, insluitend in die Stepney -omgewing, waar die party reeds by plaaslike huurdergroepe betrokke was. Verteenwoordigers van skuilings het in Januarie 1941 die kommunisties georganiseerde People's Convention bygewoon.

In sommige opsigte bevorder die Londense skuilings wel solidariteit tussen klasse. Positiewe uitbeeldings van die werkersklas het uit die skuilings gekom na die land se hoër en middelklasse. In die werk van baie joernaliste en kunstenaars wat oorloë Londen, waaronder George Orwell, behandel het, het pro-Britse en sosialistiese temas saamgesmelt.

'N Jaar tevore het die historikus R.C.K. Ensor het die arme Londense moeders afgemaak as “onheilspellende, onwelriekende, flenters wat kinders agtervolg.” Nou het fotograwe, kunstenaars en skrywers wat die skuilings en metrostasies besoek, gesinne uit die krotbuurte met stille waardigheid uitgebeeld. Field skryf: "Skielik het hulle, net soos Londen self, vir die land gestaan."

Redakteur se opmerking: 'n Vorige weergawe van hierdie stuk noem Jack London se skryfwerk in die oorlog verkeerdelik, in werklikheid is hy in 1916 oorlede, maar sy skryfwerk het 'n invloed op joernaliste uit die Tweede Wêreldoorlog gehad.


Die gevare van die Blitz -gees

In November 1940 het romanskrywer Vera Brittain en 'n vriend 'n taxi geneem deur die verwoeste gebiede van die East End van Londen. Onderweg het 'n lugaanval alarm geblaas, en 'n polisieman het die taxi gestop en die bestuurder en passasiers gewaarsku om skuiling te neem. Die taximan gluur die polisieman met 'onuitspreeklike minagting' aan en ry na Bethnal Green, met die goedkeuring van sy twee aanklagte.

Hy het vir hulle gesê dat hy elke aand op die boonste verdieping van 'n woonstelblok geslaap het sonder om te skuil, en geluister het na die bomme wat om hom val. 'Tensy dit my naam bevat, sal dit my nie 'n plesier gee nie,' was sy gevolgtrekking. Brittain het gedink dit is tipies van die fatalisme wat deur Londenaars in die Blitz uitgespreek is, met die oortuiging dat 'die noodlot onversetlik bly raak'. Ook aan die einde van 'n vermoeiende dag het sy ook besluit om in haar bed te slaap, onbewus van die geraas van die bomme en gewere om haar. Brittain het oorleef, maar duisende Londenaars wat die rasionele impuls na skuiling getrotseer het, het dit nie gedoen nie.

Die bombardemente in Brittanje tydens die Duitse lugvaart van nege maande op Brittanje was merkwaardig hoog in vergelyking met die ongevalle wat die meeste bomaanvalle tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog opgelê het. Tussen September 1940 en Mei 1941 is 41 480 mense dood, 16 755 van hulle vroue en 5 184 kinders. Die piekmaand was September 1940, toe 6,968 sterf, die laagste aantal sterftes in Februarie 1941, met 859 sterftes danksy die swak vlieënweer.

Duitse bomwerpers het 58 000 ton bomme in 1940 en 1941 laat val. Britse bombardement op Duitsland in 1940 kos slegs 950 sterftes en in 1941 nog 4 000, toegedien deur 50 000 ton bomme wat die RAF op Europese, hoofsaaklik Duitse, teikens laat val het. Dit het 10 ton bomme geverg om een ​​Duitser dood te maak, maar slegs 1,3 ton om 'n Brit dood te maak.

Die gewilde verklaring vir hierdie verskil berus op twee oorlewende mites van die bomoorlog. Eerstens, dat die Duitse bombardement doelbewus terroristies was, gemik op burgerlike bevolkings om Britse oorgawe te dwing, tweedens dat bomwerpers van die RAF slegs militêre teikens, insluitend fabrieke, getref het en die burgerlike bevolking sover moontlik gespaar het. Nie een van hierdie argumente kan ondersoek word nie.

Die doelwitte van die Duitse lugmag was die dokke met hul verwante pakhuise en vervoergeriewe, die vliegtuigingenieursbedryf in die Midlands en die administratiewe en finansiële sentrum van Londen. Adolf Hitler verwerp uitdruklik die idee van terreurbomaan om eie onthalwe, deels uit vrees vir vergelding op Duitse stede, deels uit die feit dat dit 'n groter strategiese sin het om die hawens en voedselvoorrade van Brittanje te bombardeer om Brittanje te onderhandel eerder as om ly aan die skadelike gevolge van blokkade.

Die POF, aan die ander kant, het opgegee om slegs militêre-ekonomiese teikens in 1940 te bombardeer, en teen Julie 1941 is dit formeel gerig op die bewoon van werkersgebiede. Britse bombardemente was egter so onakkuraat dat 'n groot deel van die bomme op die platteland geval het, nie altyd onskadelik nie, maar in gebiede wat dun bevolk was.

Waarom het die Duitse bombardement tot so 'n groot tol gelei?

Waarom het die Duitse bombardement dan so 'n groot tol geëis? 'N Deel van die antwoord lê in eenvoudige geografiese feite. Duitse bomwerpers aan die kus van Noordwes-Europa was naby Britse teikens, waarvan die meeste aan of naby die kus was, en gevolglik baie makliker om te vind en te tref as gevolg van die kus- of riviermonding. Die belangrikste hawens, insluitend Londen, het maklik identifiseerbare hawe gebiede waar 'n hoë konsentrasie bomme laat val is.

Rondom die dokke het swak geboude arbeidersbehuise saamgesmelt, vol van die families van dokwerkers en arbeiders, wat gereeld getref is vanweë hul nabyheid aan die hoofdoelwitte. In die aanvalle op Birmingham en Coventry is swaar skade aangerig deur die ingenieursbedrywe, maar ook hier het te lae koste, oorvol behuising die fabrieke aangeval en groot skade gely, hoofsaaklik as gevolg van brand. Bomaanvalle, selfs vir die Duitse lugmag, bygestaan ​​deur elektroniese navigasiehulpmiddels en hoë opleidingsvlakke, het onvermydelik die gebiede rondom die dokke of fabrieke getref. Duitse vlieëniers was nie skaam om werkers en hul gesinne dood te maak nie, maar dit was nie hul hoofdoel nie.

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Tog is geografie slegs 'n deel van die verduideliking. Die hoë vlak van ongevalle was 'n produk van Britse omstandighede meer as die Duitse 'angs'. Die enigste manier om die kwesbare bevolkings te beskerm, was om te verseker dat hulle voldoende skuiling het, en om aan te dring op 'n hoë standaard van skuilingsdissipline. Dit was ook nie die geval in Brittanje nie.

Skuiling was onvoldoende in juis die gebiede waar die bombardement op sy swaarste was. Skuildissipline, ondanks jare se publisiteit oor effektiewe voorsorgmaatreëls vir burgerlike verdediging en sinvolle lugaanvalgedrag, was verbasend slap. Elke aand tydens die bombardement het duisende mense gekies om die bedreiging te trotseer deur buite te bly, in die bed, of in hul voorkamer, en elke aand is 'n fraksie daarvan dood.

Hoe was die Britse lugaanval skuilings?

Die skuilingsprogram het begin voor die aanvang van die Blitz, maar dit was 'n taamlike prestasie, vererger deur die groot verskille wat deur die Britse klasstelsel bepaal is. Middelklas-huishoudings het baie meer 'n huis met 'n kelder of kelder om in 'n tydelike bunker te omskep, of 'n tuin waar een van die metaalskuilings van Anderson wat in 1940 in hul miljoene beskikbaar gestel is, in die aarde gegrawe kon word. Dit was makliker vir inwoners wat beter daaraan toe was om na die land te verhuis, in hotelle of blyplekke of by vriende te bly, en in baie gevalle al eerder in die voorstedelike buitewyke as in die oorvol stadsentrums. In armer distrikte het die plaaslike inwoners wat geen toegang tot 'n veilige openbare skuiling gehad het nie, en geen kelder, waar hulle kon nie - onder brûe, in tonnels, pakhuise of grotte. In Londen was duisende van hulle beskut in die ondergrondse stelsel, hoewel selfs op die hoogtepunt die stasies slegs 'n klein fraksie van die Londenaars huisves wat elke aand deur die bomme bedreig word.

Die plaaslike owerhede het gereageer op die vooruitsig van bomaanval deur 'n groot aantal van die goedkoopste en maklikste geboue te bou. Dit het bestaan ​​uit loopgrawe en sypaadjies van baksteen en beton. Die loopgrawe was dikwels versuip en in baie gevalle sonder die interne konstruksie wat nodig was om te keer dat die sye ineenstort of om die gevolge van 'n bomontploffing te vermy, wat in eenvoudige loopgrawe al die insittendes kon doodmaak. Die sypaadjies, wat in duisende oor die hele Brittanje gebou is, het geen beskerming gebied teen 'n direkte tref of teen 'n bom wat naby val of teen die ineenstorting van 'n nabygeleë gebou nie. Sommige het dik betondakke wat neergestort en die inwoners verpletter het toe die swakker baksteenmure meegegee het. In sommige stadsdele was daar nie behoorlike sement vir die bou van lae prioriteite nie en moes mortel van swak gehalte gebruik word. Die gevolg was die ineenstorting van sommige van die skuilings na net 'n hewige reënbui.

Die loopgraaf- en baksteenskuilings het gou 'n reputasie as tragedie gehad, en die plaaslike bevolking het dit vermy. Teen die lente van 1941 het 'n opname bevind dat tydens seevalle slegs sewe persent van die plekke in loopgrawe en agt persent in baksteenskuilings eintlik beset was. In 'n opname wat deur die regeringswetenskaplike Solly Zuckerman gedoen is, is bevind dat 51 persent van die gesinne wat tydens die Blitz in stede gebly het, óf nie skuiling kon kry nie.

Was daar genoeg skuilings?

Beide die nasionale en plaaslike owerhede het geweet dat hulle die bevolking moet probeer beskerm, en miljoene is bygestaan ​​deur formele ontruimingskemas, hoewel miljoene verkies het om nie te vertrek nie, aangesien dit nie verpligtend was nie. Daar was openbare skuilplekke vir net een tiende van die kwesbare bevolkings, huishoudelike skuilings (wat alles van 'n besemkas onder die trap tot 'n goed proporsionele kelder kan wees) vir nog 40 persent. In die distrikte waar skuiling heel waarskynlik nodig sou wees, was die poging om die bevolking te laat voldoen aan basiese beskerming egter dikwels moeilik. In Hull, byvoorbeeld, het amptenare 'n swak reaksie op die aanbod van Anderson- of baksteenoppervlaktes gevind. In een straat van 26 eiendomme het vyf ingestem om 'n skuiling te hê, nege het geweier, sewe het nie gereageer nie, drie het nêrens een om te sit nie en twee was winkels. Na aanleiding van die stadsondersoek van Hull, het 1 279 huishoudings hul versoek om skuiling gekanselleer. Dit word as 'n vrye keuse beskou, maar diegene wat geweier het, het dit moeilik gevind om skuiling te kry toe hulle van plan verander.

Burgers was nie altyd vry om te kies of hulle 'n skuiling wou hê nie, en hulle was ook nie altyd vry om te kies as hulle nie veilig was nie. Die skuilingstelsel was rof en gereed, hoewel dit aansienlik verbeter het in die jaar na die Blitz. Daar was nietemin baie mense wat aktief gekies het om nie te skuil nie, aangesien dit nie verpligtend was nie (soos in Duitsland). Vir 'n moderne gehoor lyk dit asof dit 'n gekke besluit is. Mense kan ook wissel in hul beskermingsgewoontes, kies om vir 'n paar dae of 'n week skuiling te neem en besluit dan om in hul eie beddens te slaap. Solly Zuckerman was so verbaas oor hierdie verskynsel dat hy in 1941 'n ondersoek ingestel het op grond van onderhoude met burgerlike verdedigingspersoneel om te ontdek of die bombardeerde bevolking onnatuurlik fatalisties was of andersins 'apaties of sorgeloos', maar hy kon geen antwoord vind wat tevrede was nie hom.

Hoe het mense by die bomaanvalle aangepas?

Fatalisme was beslis een van die verklarings. Die gewilde slagspreuk dat die bom wat u doodgemaak het 'u naam daarop gehad het', is nie net 'n Blitsmite nie, maar word in oorlogsdagboeke en ooggetuieverslae opgeteken. Na 'n stormloop van skuilings in die eerste weke van die Blitz in September 1940, ontwikkel Londenaars 'n groeiende onverskilligheid. Volgens 'n regeringsopname het die getal wat beweer dat hulle nie slaap nie, teen die einde van die maand van 31 persent tot slegs drie persent gedaal, wat daarop dui dat baie mense verkies om hul nagte in die bed deur te bring eerder as om in skuilings te bly waar daar was nog steeds geen behoorlike beddens nie. Onder die herinneringe aan burgerlike verdediging wat tydens die Blitz, of kort daarna, gepubliseer is, is daar talle verhale van lyke wat uit die puin van hul slaapkamers gegrawe is, of van voetgangers wat op straat was nadat die sirenes geblaas het, of toeskouers wat 'n verre aanval kyk totdat dit skielik vasgevang word uit met 'n ewekansige bom.

Een joernalis wat tydens 'n aanval na haar woonstelblok teruggekeer het, het gevind dat die opsigter en sy vrou rustig hul aandete sit en eet terwyl bomme na buite val. Toe sy hulle vra waarom hulle nie bang is nie, het die vrou geantwoord: 'As ons dit doen, wat sou dit ons baat?' Hulle het aangehou eet en die joernalis het gaan slaap, vasbeslote om ook die bomme te waag as die vrou van die opsigter dit kon doen.

Maar saam met die fatalisme kon voorbeelde van opgewondenheid, bravade en doelbewuste risiko's gevind word. Die skrywer Vera Brittain het die ryk, blink jong dinge van Londen waargeneem "Playing No Man's Land" en die bomme ontduik tydens 'n aanval om van partytjie tot partytjie te gaan. Ander het erken dat hulle gefassineer was deur die skouspel, en staan ​​en kyk vanaf onveilige dakke en balkonne eerder as om skuiling te soek. Daar was selfs 'n patriotiese weiering om te skuil, op die (beslis twyfelagtige) gronde dat Hitler sou gewen het as almal onder die grond gedwing word wanneer die bomme begin val. Een vrou naby Coventry versier haar huis met Union Jacks en sit onder hulle tydens 'n aanval, uitdagend Brits. Baie verhale van die Blitz het die bloedige gesindheid van die bevolking beklemtoon, soveel so dat Britse stoïsme en uitdaging in die geheue van die bombardement ingebed is. Dit was nie 'n mite nie. Britse burgers sterf nie net as gevolg van swak huisvesting en skuiling nie, maar omdat hulle die risiko geneem het om die bomme te trotseer eerder as om vir Hitler te kowtow.

Daar was geen enkele of eenvoudige verduideliking nie, hetsy materieel of sielkundig, waarom so baie mense verkies het om nie outomaties te skuil as die sirenes klink nie. 'N Verhelderende voorbeeld van die verskeidenheid reaksies kan gevind word in die verhaal van 'n ander joernalis in Londen, die New York Times-verslaggewer Raymond Daniell. Na die eerste klopjagte in September 1940, het hy agtergekom dat die kantoorseuns na 'n nag of wat opgehou het om te skuil, omdat hulle te veel geld verloor het deur te speel terwyl ander aan die bombardement ontsnap het. Daniell and his colleagues stayed above ground during raids, impervious to the request of the local air-raid warden to go down to the shelter. “Go home you German pig!” could be heard every now and again shouted out by one of the office staff.

Daniell stayed in his apartment during air raids, reading and drinking. He had a driver and car at his disposal, but during raids the driver refused to shelter and instead slept in the car in case someone should try to steal the tyres. After a few weeks of sleeping uncomfortably, Daniell had made the decision to abandon safety altogether: “It occurred to me that instead of being marked for destruction I enjoyed a special immunity from bombs. From that time on I gambled on my luck and never darkened the door of a shelter again.”

Daniell’s account, written in 1941 as the bombing was going on, reveals a variety of motives for running risks, not least the widespread distrust of the clearly inadequate shelter provision. The risks were considerable, though statistically supportable. In the end only 0.23 per cent of the London population was killed. Ordinary people, of course, did not make this arithmetical calculation but they nevertheless had a sense that the gamble was not entirely irrational. Raymond Daniell recalled that “the odds on a miss were strongly in our favour”. In areas with smaller populations and limited urban amenities, the damage was proportionally greater, and the response in places such as Plymouth, Hull or Southampton was a mass exodus into the surrounding countryside that continued in some cases for months after the bombing was ended. Here the chance of death was higher.

The high number of dead and seriously injured during the Blitz resulted from a combination of factors – the accuracy and high concentration of German bombing, the poor level of shelter provision in the dense residential areas around docks and factories, and the poor level of shelter discipline. Choosing not to shelter had many possible causes, whether from defiance, or fatalism, or ignorance, or daring.

One of the costs of the stubborn and phlegmatic British character at the heart of the Blitz story, even if it is now considered to be exaggerated or romanticised, was a higher register of dead than there would have been if the state had been more alive to the social realities facing the threatened population by providing a better shelter system or insisting on evacuation, and if the people themselves had been more willing to do what they were told.

Richard Overy is professor of history at the University of Exeter and author of The Bombing War: Europe 1939–1945 (Allen Lane)


How well did Britain ‘take it’ during the Blitz?

According to the historian Mark Connelly, the Blitz is seen as “vital to the British national identity”. It was a time where its people not only stood alone against Nazism but endured the wrath of war for over eight months in the form of an intense bombing campaign against its major cities. The Blitz began around 4.40pm on the 7 th September with a large 300 strong German bomber raid on the East End of London. In under ninety minutes, much of the docklands area of the Thames had become engulfed in a firestorm created by hundreds of incendiary canisters and high explosive bombs. The bombers would continue to return throughout the night hitting the same areas until the early hours of the following morning and it was only then that the true extent of destruction could be seen. In just twelve hours, more than 430 had been killed and over 1600 injured. Fires were still raging, communications were down and in many areas there was no gas, electric or water. Such scenes had never seen before by Londoners or by any British civilian for that matter, however they would begin to become the norm. Major raids on London continued for fifty seven consecutive nights and on the 14 th of November major raids spread to provincial cities such as Birmingham, Glasgow and Coventry. It was only on the 10 th of May 1941 that large scale attacks ended with an immense raid on London, as Hitler shifted his attention to his planned Operation Barbarossa. In only eight months over 40000 civilians were killed and a further 800000 made homeless, but it is believed that regardless of these statistics, Britain took it and took it well. The latter suggestion is subject to debate amongst many historians.

If one looks at crime statistics it is questionable as to whether Britain did ‘take it’ well during the Blitz. During late 1940 and early 1941, there was a marked rise in the cases of looting in Britain. In London alone in September 1940 there were only 539 cases of looting but within a month this figure had risen to 1662. At first glance this may appear to simply be a coincidence but the majority of these cases were directly influenced by air raids. Looting crimes mainly took place in bombed out areas where houses were unattended as owners were seeking cover in shelters or where houses were bombed out. One such example of this is in February 1941 when a London gas company inspector stated in court “that there had been more than three thousand cases of thefts from (coin-operated) gas meters, mainly in bombed houses”. Similar scenes were also seen in the provincial cities such as Sheffield, where a judge described “a perfect outburst of looting” after raids in December 1940. Cases became so frequent that an Anti-Loot Squad was established by Scotland Yard. Therefore the rise in looting may suggest that Britain did not “take it” well during the Blitz given that some seem to have resorted to low-level crime. Indeed over 14% of those convicted in the London area were only schoolchildren who had little better to do given that schools were often closed. However, a rather shocking, 42% were those in a position of trust such as firemen and Air Raid Precautions wardens, which hardly suggests a sense of community spirit or “business as usual” attitude. Also the fact that 90% had no previous convictions further demonstrates that the Blitz may have led to desperation amongst some of the population in attempt to survive. 11 Such statistics hardly suggest that Britain was taking it well with some of its citizens resorting to low level crime.

The morale of the British people during this turbulent period also provides some evidence as to whether Britain, as a whole, coped with the Blitz. As Connelly highlights, the Blitz was a time where civilians stood “shoulder to shoulder, regardless of class or creed, and withstood ‘full terror, might and fury of the enemy’. Not only this, they did it with it solidarity, dignity and, in London, with positive cockney spirit without gripe. To many historians this is seen as a myth, created simply for boosting and maintaining morale, used by the government during the war years. Public morale did not break as government had previously expected therefore the myth was cultivated and has continued to be promulgated ever since. Some such as Malcolm Smith regard it as a positive myth used to ensure Britain and its population survived, others such as Clive Poynting see it as being used to mislead the public. Regardless whether it is a positive or negative myth, it is still a myth in that morale was not always so good in both London and the provincial cities. Mass Observation reported that the so-called positive fun East End spirit that was being reported in the press in the first few days of Blitz were “gross exaggerations” and “on no previous investigation has so little humour, laughter or whistling been recorded”. A month later, an intelligence report stated “there is less of ‘we can take it’ and an inclination to say ‘this must stop at all costs’” therefore clearly suggesting the bombing of the East End was affecting morale quite rapidly. Some may argue that these examples of morale cracking are from official sources generalising the emotions of the people but there are individual cases, also, of morale breaking. One construction worker from London felt the bombings were “getting more than flesh and blood can stand, it just can’t be endured, night after night like this” and that his wife “was getting like a mad woman”. Nevertheless this was only a small minority such breakdowns did not occur on a wide scale and those few who could not cope simply left the cities.

It can be suggested that, initially, morale was worse in the provincial cities where bombing raids were more infrequent but seem to be more effective in breaking the spirit of the people. Although they were few and far between, they were shorter and more intense. More importantly these cities were smaller with denser population, therefore there was a greater feeling that everyone was being targeted unlike in London where bombing raids usually focused on the East End rather than the whole of London itself. In Coventry, where one of the most severe raids occurred, over one hundred acres of the city centre were destroyed and around 1400 were killed or injured. The city was completely ravaged with most of its shops, communications, water, electric and gas services not in operation. The BBC reported that in the centre of city “ it was impossible to see where the central streets had been” and quite understandably such death and destruction had a knock on effect on morale. Home Intelligence reported that the “shock effect was greater in Coventry than in the East End or any other area” and that there was a “great depression”, resulting in many leaving the city fearing it was “dead”. Some regard the situation in Liverpool as being just as bad or even worse where one particular civilian commented that “the people of Liverpool would have surrendered overnight if they could have” to the point that some began to demonstrate on the streets calling for peace with Germany.” Mass Observation also stated that there had been anger and discontent in many other cities but it was only in Liverpool that it really came from all different social classes and local political parties. In Swansea, the so called “Blitz myth” being pushed by the government in fact had a negative effect on the city’s population. After a journalist spoke on local radio about bombed residents walking around carrying out their day to day business quite happily, many citizens began to feel demoralised “feeling they had fallen short of some ideal standard” according to Mass Observation. Therefore it would seem that it was not only the effects of the bombing raids that were leading to poor morale but the supposed “morale preservation” propaganda of the government also. However it is important to not take this all out of context, it is quite true that morale in many cities all over Britain broke at some point during the Blitz but it did not always stay so. In Coventry, it is suggested, that morale actually improved relatively quickly and despite almost total destruction, production had returned to normal within six weeks of the raid. James Kelbrick, a civilian in Liverpool, states that even in Liverpool morale improved over time and “there was much togetherness and sharing”. In some cases civilians took pride in how they could “take it” just as well as Londoners almost creating inter-city rivalry, an idea heavily pushed by local presses. For manyit appears that the Blitz just became a way of life and it is this ability to adapt or somehow cope with such death and devastation which suggests that Britain really did “take it” quite well.

It is agreed by many historians that the official response to the Blitz was rather poor and unorganised, although British governments had discussed civil defence in the face of aerial bombardment throughout the 1930s. It was not until after the Blitz had finished that the government and local authorities had an efficient civil defence, emergency services and shelter policy. Britain lacked any form of centralised fire service which made fighting fires created by incendiary bombs extremely difficult. In 1940, Britain had around over 16000 individual fire brigades, all with varying types of equipment of which most were not interoperable. This reduced the fighting capacity of fire brigades brought into areas where local fire-fighters could not cope. Nevertheless these men fought on regardless of the inefficiency of their equipment, battling even water shortages in cities like Portsmouth and it was not until May 1941 that a uniform national fire service was established, by which time the worst was over. There was also no effective form of anti-aircraft defence, mainly due to the lack of radar technology in intercepting bombers at night or hitting them with anti-aircraft guns on the ground. Anti-aircraft guns were often simply emplaced for maintaining morale not necessarily because they fulfilled a purpose. There was also no firm policy on sheltering put forward by the government only that they, in particular Churchill, deeply disliked deep shelters or communal shelters due to the belief that they would have negative effects on morale or lead to “deep shelter syndrome” meaning people would stay below the surface and never see the light of day. Instead they focused on public basements and Anderson shelters in gardens. It appears that it was the people themselves that took matters into their own hands, particularly in London. As soon as the Blitz began, Londoners began to take in shelter in Underground stations although government did attempt to stop them. On the first day of the Blitz, London citizens in their thousands pushed their way into Liverpool Street tube station refusing to be pushed back. Eventually the gates were opened and they were allowed in before they were crushed to death. Soon enough, the government were forced to give in and allow such practice to take place. Here it can be suggested that the people themselves were more understanding in how they should “take it” than the government themselves. Had the government done everything in its capacity to ban deep shelters then Britain may not have “taken” the Blitz so well. The fact that people were taken matters into their own hands does imply that Britain was coping with the bombing raids well as they seem to have understood what made them feel safe. During heavy bombing over two hundred thousand sheltered in Underground stations, with others seeking refuge in caves, railway arches and even church halls. In the Chislehurst caves, citizens established homes and even a community with church services and entertainment. This shows an outstanding ability to adapt to the situation that was being faced and continue with day to day business. Even more so it is the willingness of nearly fifteen thousand Londoners returning every night to the ‘Tilbury Shelter’ warehouse which only had two water sources and no toilets whatsoever which shows the determination of the British people to “take it” and ride it out regardless of comfort and cleanliness. Those who could not take the Blitz directly simply left, a process that came to be known as “trekking”. For example in Liverpool over 50000 citizens left the city each night and in Portsmouth the number neared 90000. To some this may seem that some British citizens could not stand the effects of the Blitz but it can be suggested this was one way of adapting to it, as many only left at night returning the following day. It is also important to note that although these figures seem high they actually form a small percentage of the total population. In London, over 50% of its population stayed in their own homes to shelter either through lack of choice or because they simply did not want to leave. This fully demonstrates that Britain managed to deal with the effects of the Blitz very well despite lack of sheltering, civil defence and emergency facilities.

In conclusion, it would appear that Britain did “take it” very well duringthe Blitz. For many people, bombing raids became the norm and endured simply because they had very little option to do anything else. There were, of course, occasions where morale cracked but this however does not necessarily seem to be the result of the Blitz itself but of the incompetence of local authorities to act sufficiently. Both the authorities and the government seem to be slow in solving the problems of civil defence, sheltering and re-housing all of which were important to uphold national morale. It can be suggested that government were too cautious and had little confidence in the strength of the British public to pull through such tough times. This is evident through their reluctance to allow deep sheltering, which in most circumstances were the only effective means of protection from incendiaries and high explosives. It was not until November 1940 that the government gave in and begun the construction of deep shelters for around 100000 people and even then they were not completed until the Blitz was in its closing stages. In provincial cities they were even more lacking in deep shelters, but nevertheless people continued tolerating the death and destruction that the Blitz had brought upon them. Therefore Britain did “take it”, took it as well as it could given the circumstances and more importantly took it alone.


London is devastated by German air raid

On the evening of December 29, 1940, London suffers its most devastating air raid when Germans firebomb the city. Hundreds of fires caused by the exploding bombs engulfed areas of London, but firefighters showed a valiant indifference to the bombs falling around them and saved much of the city from destruction. The next day, a newspaper photo of St. Paul’s Cathedral standing undamaged amid the smoke and flames seemed to symbolize the capital’s unconquerable spirit during the Battle of Britain.

In May and June 1940, Holland, Belgium, Norway, and France fell one by one to the German Wehrmacht, leaving Great Britain alone in its resistance against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s plans for world domination. The British Expeditionary Force escaped the continent with an impromptu evacuation from Dunkirk, but they left behind the tanks and artillery needed to defend their homeland against invasion. With British air and land forces outnumbered by their German counterparts, and U.S. aid not yet begun, it seemed certain that Britain would soon follow the fate of France. However, Winston Churchill, the new British prime minister, promised his nation and the world that Britain would “never surrender,” and the British people mobilized behind their defiant leader.

On June 5, the Luftwaffe began attacks on English Channel ports and convoys, and on June 30 Germany seized control of the undefended Channel Islands. On July 10–the first day of the Battle of Britain according to the RAF—the Luftwaffe intensified its bombing of British ports. Six days later, Hitler ordered the German army and navy to prepare for Operation Sea Lion. On July 19, the German leader made a speech in Berlin in which he offered a conditional peace to the British government: Britain would keep its empire and be spared from invasion if its leaders accepted the German domination of the European continent. A simple radio message from Lord Halifax swept the proposal away.

Germany needed to master the skies over Britain if it was to transport safely its superior land forces across the 21-mile English Channel. On August 8, the Luftwaffe intensified its raids against the ports in an attempt to draw the British air fleet out into the open. Simultaneously, the Germans began bombing Britain’s sophisticated radar defense system and RAF-fighter airfields. During August, as many as 1,500 German aircraft crossed the Channel daily, often blotting out the sun as they flew against their British targets. Despite the odds against them, the outnumbered RAF fliers successfully resisted the massive German air invasion, relying on radar technology, more maneuverable aircraft, and exceptional bravery. For every British plane shot down, two Luftwaffe warplanes were destroyed.

At the end of August, the RAF launched a retaliatory air raid against Berlin. Hitler was enraged and ordered the Luftwaffe to shift its attacks from RAF installations to London and other British cities. On September 7, the Blitz against London began, and after a week of almost ceaseless attacks several areas of London were in flames and the royal palace, churches, and hospitals had all been hit. However, the concentration on London allowed the RAF to recuperate elsewhere, and on September 15 the RAF launched a vigorous counterattack, downing 56 German aircraft in two dogfights that lasted less than an hour.

The costly raid convinced the German high command that the Luftwaffe could not achieve air supremacy over Britain, and the next day daylight attacks were replaced with nighttime sorties as a concession of defeat. On September 19, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler postponed indefinitely “Operation Sea Lion”–the amphibious invasion of Britain. The Battle of Britain, however, continued.

In October, Hitler ordered a massive bombing campaign against London and other cities to crush British morale and force an armistice. Despite significant loss of life and tremendous material damage to Britain’s cities, the country’s resolve remained unbroken. The ability of Londoners to maintain their composure had much to do with Britain’s survival during this trying period. As American journalist Edward R. Murrow reported, “Not once have I heard a man, woman, or child suggest that Britain should throw her hand.” In May 1941, the air raids essentially ceased as German forces massed near the border of the USSR.

By denying the Germans a quick victory, depriving them of forces to be used in their invasion of the USSR, and proving to America that increased arms support for Britain was not in vain, the outcome of the Battle of Britain greatly changed the course of World War II. As Churchill said of the RAF fliers during the Battle of Britain, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”


Facts about Anderson Shelters 9: the shortcoming

During the winter months, people could catch cold when they were inside the shelter. Kry facts about air raid shelter hier.

Facts about Anderson Shelters 10: the Anderson shelters today

Today, there are many survived Anderson shelters. Even though they are not used anymore, people use it as a garden shed.

Facts about Anderson Shelters

Do you have question on facts about Anderson shelter?


During the Blitz, how long did an air raid last for?

I'm curious as to how long a single air raid would have lasted for on average. Preferably, any information/sources on the length of air raids in London (specifically in 1941) would be great.

How long did it take from the air raid siren sounding to the bombing actually beginning?

Also, was there a specific time that air raids began at (or a time that was more common)?

At home I've got the start and end times of all the raids on Liverpool, they vary considerably depending on the time of year along with other factors I presume such as the size of the force involved and weather. The enormous majority were night raids that if memory serves usually began a few hours before midnight and often lasted at least an hour or two, longer for the bigger raids.

Edit: I appreciate it was London you were after, but if it would be of interest I could dig up the data for you. Liverpool's raids began in July 1940 and ended in January 1942, with particularly heavy attacks in December 1940, March and May 1941.


Primêre bronne

(1) East Grinstead Observer (23rd November, 1940)

A shocking triple shooting occurred in East Grinstead early Tuesday morning when the bodies of Phyllis Martin, aged 40, Alice Martin, her 12 year old daughter, and John Bankhurst, aged 29, their lodger, were found in their house at 20 Sackville Gardens, East Grinstead. The tragedy was witnessed by 7 year old, David George Martin.

David Leslie Martin, the father of David George Martin, told the coroner that John Bankhurst had been lodging with him for 16 months. He was a single man and was employed locally as a nurseryman. Some months ago Bankhurst started to kiss Alice Martin. David Leslie Martin took Bankhurst on one side and told him in a friendly way that he must stop it. Bankhurst broke down and said it would never happen again.

One day, a few weeks later, the witness saw Bankhurst coming out of Alice's bedroom. On Tuesday, 14th November, Alice again complained of Bankhurst's behaviour and David Leslie Martin told him he must go.

The next witness was the boy David George Martin. He said he slept with his sister, Alice. "On Tuesday morning, John Bankhurst came into the bedroom and tried to whisper to Alice, as he always did." Alice and David were still in bed. When David's mother entered the room, Bankhurst left.

"After a few moments" continued the boy: "He came back into the room with the gun he always kept in his bedroom. My mother screamed, but he did not say anything, but lifted his gun and fired. Mummy fell down. Alice screamed and tried to hide under the bed clothes and I jumped out of bed. I saw Alice pull the bed clothes over her head. I could see her hands holding the bed clothes over her head. Bankhurst raised the gun to his shoulder and fired at Alice. He turned to me and I said 'Don't shoot me John.' He just looked at me and went out of the room, upstairs to his bedroom. I waited and listened. I heard him shut the door and then heard a shot. I put some clothes on and ran off to find daddy."

P.C. Adams stated that at eight that morning he arrived at 20 Sackville Gardens. He found the body of Bankhurst in an upstairs room. The top of his head was blown away. P.C. Adams said Bankhurst had apparently knelt in front of a chest of drawers on which was a mirror so he could see what he was doing.

Sidney Herbert Thayre of 47 Buckhurst Way, East Grinstead, told the coroner that Bankhurst was his brother-in-law and that he kept the gun for rabbit shooting. "He had a bad temper. He was the sort of man who would brood over any imaginary grievance." Thayre also told the coroner that Bankhurst was expecting to be called up for military service and the prospect did not seem to please him.

(2) Justice Charles, Leeds Assizes (5th March, 1941)

More than two whole days have been occupied in dealing with cases of looting which have occurred in one city (Sheffield). When a great city is attacked by bombs on a heavy scale, numbers of houses and their contents are left exposed and deprived of their natural defences. Necessarily these are the homes of comparatively poor people, since they are by far the most numerous.

In many cases these looters have operated on a wholesale scale. There were actually two-men who had abandoned well-paid positions, one of them earning £7 (£280) to £9 (£360) a week, and work of public importance, and who abandoned it to take up the obviously more remunerative occupation of looting. The task of guarding shattered houses from prowling thieves, especially during the blackout, is obviously beyond the capacity of any police force. In view of the fact and having regard to the cowardly, abominable nature of the crime the perpetrators of which are preying upon the property of poor folk rendered homeless and often killed, the Legislature has provided that those found guilty of looting from premises damaged or vacated by reason of attacks by the enemy are on conviction liable to suffer death or penal servitude for life. Thus the law puts looters into the category of murderers, and the day may well be approaching when they will be treated as such.

(3) Justice Charles, Lewes Assizes (1st December, 1941)

Even in the midst of war one has to do something to keep law and order in the country. With the exception of about five cases, every one in this calendar is a soldier - bigamy, housebreaking, rape - and I shall be told in every case that he is an excellent soldier and that the Army cannot afford to lose him. That doesn't affect my mind in the least.

(4) Chief Inspector Percy Datlen, Dover CID (17th April, 1942)

In cases where there are several houses bombed out in one street, the looters have systematically gone through the lot. Carpets have been stripped from the floors, stair carpets have been removed: they have even taken away heavy mangles, bedsteads and complete suites of furniture. We believe it is the greatest organized looting that has yet taken place and many front line citizens who have returned to their homes to carry on their essential jobs there are facing severe financial difficulties as a result of the work of the gang.

(5) Archbishop William Temple, Aand Standaard (10th July, 1943)

I commend the endurance, mutual helpfulness, and constancy, which during the "blitz" reached heroic proportions but people are not conscious of injuring the war effort by dishonesty or by sexual indulgence. There is a danger that we may win the war and be unfit to use the victory.

(6) East Grinstead Observer (10th July, 1943)

Marjorie Helen Brooker (20) of 7 West View Gardens, East Grinstead, was charged with the death of her newly born female child by wilfully neglect. The girl's sister, Mrs. Virginia Evans (22) and Corporal George Palmer (23), a Canadian soldier, was charged with endeavouring to conceal the birth of the child by the secret disposition of the body in some rushes at Worsted Farm, East Grinstead. Marjorie Brooker pleaded guilty to the concealment of the birth and the plea was accepted by the prosecution. At the birth of the of the child she thought she must have fainted, and when she recovered, the child was dead. She placed the body in a suitcase under the bed. The following Saturday she took the suitcase downstairs and gave it to her sister. Marjorie Brooker told Detective Constable Miller that Corporal George Palmer was asked by Mrs. Virginia Evans to get rid of the child's body which was in the suitcase. Palmer said he did not like doing so but he would do it as a favour to her. Palmer returned with the suitcase empty.

(7) MP for Grantham, House of Commons (25th May, 1944)

It is unfit for a woman to walk unescorted through the town at night or in the daytime, due to the ineffectiveness of the American military authorities to deal with the improper behaviour of the American forces and the complete failure to prevent unconcealed immorality and give proper protection to women.

(8) Edgar Lustgarten, The Murder and the Trail (1960)

The brash American, physically strapping but of stunted mental growth, consigned by army order to an unfamiliar land, sought to impress the natives with his own superiority by aping the habits of a gunman or a thug. The poverty-stricken adolescent refugee from Neath, frail alike in body and in mind, vaguely aspiring but completely talentless, sought a pitiable escape in fantasies inspired by the spurious appeal of gangster films. A world convulsion brought this pair together, at a moment when life was cheap and violence sanctified under such conditions the union was deadly. It was like holding a lighted match to dynamite, having first ensured that the latter was exposed.

(9) Keith Simpson, Forty Years of Murder (1978)

On 17th July 1942, a workman helping to demolish a bombed Baptist church premises in Vauxhall Road, South London, drove his pick under a heavy stone slab set on the floor of a cellar under the vestry and prised it up. Underneath lay a skeleton with a few tags of flesh clinging to it, which he assumed to be the remains of another victim of the Blitz. He put his shovel under the skeleton and lifted it out. The head stayed on the ground.

Detective Inspectors Hatton and Keeling, who were called in to investigate, wrapped the bones in a brown paper parcel and took them to the public mortuary at Southwark, where I inspected them the next morning. The sight of a dried-up womb tucked down in the remains of the trunk established the sex. There was a yellowish deposit on the head and neck. Fire had blackened parts of the skull, the hip, and the knees.

Could she have been the victim of a bomb explosion? Hardly likely, considering she had been lying neatly buried under a slab of stone, neatly set in the floor of a cellar this was no bomb crater. The detectives told me there had been an ancient cemetery on the site: could the body have been there fifty years? I shook my head. Soft tissues do not last so long. I thought the body was only about twelve to eighteen months dead. The church had been blitzed in August 1940, almost two years before.