The Blitz was the bombing of Britain's cities and industrial areas in an attempt by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) to disrupt vital war manufacturing and sap the moral of the British people. It took place between the 7th September 1940 and the 10th May It was a terrible pounding, but the British people were resilient and stood together, it just made them furious and they couldn't wait to give Hitler a bloody nose back. (A perfect example of this 'Blitz Spirit' can be read in the book. John Geddes was a young policeman on duty on the first night of the blitz, working in Londons East End. Night after night, lasting 76 consecutive nights, he witnessed the devastation and the wonderful spirit of the Cockneys. When he got his chance a couple of years later he joined the RAF and flew in Bomber Command. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery.)
By May 1941 over 43,000 people had been killed and 51,000 people injured, in London alone over 1 million homes were either destroyed or damaged. London was not the only city to suffer. Cities across the nation were attacked, from Glasgow to Belfast, Swansea to Hull. One of the most infamous raids was on Coventry, a small industrial city with a mediaeval centre and beautiful cathedral on the night of 14th November, 1940. The town centre was almost completely destroyed, 500 tonnes of explosives was dropped resulting in nearly 600 deaths, 4,000 homes being ruined, 60,000 buildings damaged including 3/4's of the cities factories and the cathedral left a smouldering wreck when the all clear siren was given at 6.15 am the following morning. Two charred timbers from the cathedral were found in the rubble in the shape of a cross, these were preserved and today the cross stands amongst the remains of the cathedral with the words engraved in stone FATHER FORGIVE.
The intensity of the bombings reduced in 1941, however raids continued taking the death toll up to 51,509. In 1944 as the Allies were advancing through France, Hitler ordered the use of V1 and V2 rockets to be fired at London. These pilotless drones became known as 'Doodlebugs'. Many people recall how these were more scary than the earlier bombings, as whereas people thought the bombs would land elsewhere, the sound of the engines overhead cutting out meant the rocket was directly above and it was about to start falling. These killed a further 8,938 civilians, taking the total number of British men, women and children killed by the bombings to 60,447.
YOUTUBE BLITZ VIDS
Recording of British WW2 air raid sirens giving a warning then the all clear.
'London Can Take It. Produced by the British Government in 1940. Narrated by American journalist Quentin Reynolds, it was aimed at the USA public.
German propaganda film about the first bombing raid on London.