England: British Isles during the Second World War (homefront).
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Victoria Cross medals: Decorated Heroes, British Nazis, The Blitz, Channel Islands, Footage from WWII, WWII London, WW2 home guard, Ruins, Bunkers in the UK, Bletchley Park.
The Crown Jewels were hidden in a biscuit tin reveals BBC documentary about the Queen
Gems from the Crown Jewels were hidden away from the Nazis inside a biscuit tin during the Second World War, as revealed in new BBC documentary The Coronation. Following orders from King George VI, the tin itself was buried underneath a secret passage at Windsor Castle, in case of enemy invasion. The Queen did not know the full details of the story until she was told by royal commentator Alastair Bruce, who presents the documentary due to be broadcast this Sunday.
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Hitler Considered Occupying The Small English Isle of Wight in WWII - It Could Have Changed History
Dr. Robert Forczyk, a military historian, analyzed German military records and found that Hitler had suggested the Nazis invade the Isle of Wight. The move would have given Germany a location from which to bombard Britain. Forczyk believes that the British would have had difficulty defending the island. Then, the Germans would have had a base just four miles from the British shore and access to civilian airfields. All of this would have greatly increased the chances of success for Operation Sea Lion. Had the Germans deployed artillery on the north side of the Isle of Wight they would be able to shell across the Solent and hit the mainland. This could force the Royal Navy to withdraw from the naval base at Portsmouth.
How British criminals and killers used the dark days of WWII to unleash a crimewave
There was easy money to be made from racketeering as the bombs fell on Britain during the war - and the scenes of devastation would also provide fertile ground for murderers to hide the bodies of their victims. Now, a fascinating new book reveals how the upsurge in crime on home soil during the Second World War contradicts the popular belief in Britain`s `Blitz Spirit`. Incredible pictures reveal the way crafty murderers took advantage of the country`s bombed-out houses to hide corpses, while others took it as an opportunity to steal from their neighbours.
Hitler Considered Occupying The Small English Isle of Wight in WWII - It Could Have Changed History
Dr. Robert Forczyk, a military historian, analyzed German military records and found that Adolf Hitler had suggested the Nazis invade the Isle of Wight. The move would have given Germany a location from which to bombard Britain. Forczyk believes that the British would have had difficulty defending the island and would not have been able to take it back from the Germans. Then, the Germans would have had a base just four miles from the British shore and access to civilian airfields. All of this would have greatly increased the chances of success for Operation Sea Lion, the Nazi plan to invade England. Hitler was talked out of the plan by naval commanders who overestimated the number of British soldiers and feared the power of British submarines.
It`s Startling How Close the Nazis Came to Invading Britain
Reeling under combined assault from German land and air forces, in late May and early June 1940 the British Army evacuated France. As many as 338,000 British and allied troops got off the beach at Dunkirk. But they left behind 2,300 artillery pieces, 500 anti-tank guns, 600 tanks and 64,000 other vehicles — around half of the British Army`s entire inventory of heavy weaponry. For the next year, the army was all but powerless to defend the British Isles. At least that`s what Adolf Hitler and the rest of the German high command believed as they promptly laid plans to invade. They called the operation Unternehmen Seeloewe. Operation Sealion.
Clothing Rationing in Britain During World War II
The necessity for food rationing during WW2 was accepted by the people of Britain, and while they found it difficult, they met the challenge head on. The surprise rationing of clothing, announced on 1st June 1941, was yet another war burden which had to be faced. Rationing of clothing became necessary as many manufacturing concerns had been taken over for war work. There was a huge demand for war-related materials such as wool, (for the manufacture of uniforms), and silk (for making parachutes, maps, and gunpowder bags), and raw materials were in short supply.
Britain`s War: Into Battle, 1937-1941 by Daniel Todman
In Britain`s War Daniel Todman only needs 200 of his pages to take us to September 1939, having begun with the coronation of King George VI in 1937. Todman`s pace picks up nicely once Britain is actually at war. As a gifted historian with a good track record in the military events of the period, Todman is playing to his own strengths. He tells the big story well but also illustrates his themes with many small stories and appealing anecdotes.
Hitler`s UK hit list - known as Hitler`s Black Book - translated into English
Known as Hitler`s Black Book listing ‘enemies of the state, traitors and undesirables, marked for punishment or death`, it has been painstakingly translated from the original German by specialist military genealogy website Forces War Records. It documents 2,820 of the Reich`s ‘most wanted` people in Britain, for targeting following invasion. The entire digital Black Book can be seen and searched, free, on (www.forces-war-records.co.uk). There are many notables within the collection: probable and improbable politicians, intelligensia, even entertainers.
Secret files reveal successful MI5 plot to identify Nazi sympathisers in Britain
A MI5 plot to set up a "fifth column" of rightwing extremists succeeded in attracting "probably hundreds" of Nazi and fascist sympathisers in Britain, according to secret files. The plan was prompted by MI5`s concern that the British branch of the German firm Siemens ran what it described as a "vast espionage organisation" before the outbreak of the second world war. MI5 first attempted to infiltrate the company through a "correspondents` club" to attract single female employees. But it proved too successful – one employee became too emotionally attached to the undercover MI5 agent.
Nazis made a booklet of Britain for senior Nazi officers detailing key utilities and landmarks
The dossier, described as a ‘Nazi A to Z of Great Britain`, reveals the postcards and maps German troops collected to plot their attack. The booklet gives an insight into what could have happened if Hitler had successfully invaded the UK. From cities earmarked for destruction to top public schools – the book identifies landmarks such as Blackpool Tower and the Mersey Tunnel so troops could identify their targets in preparation for a blitz of the British Isles.
Souvenirs collected by German tourists in 1930s were used to plan invasion of Britain by Nazis
A collection of English seaside postcards collected by German tourists before the Second World War, confiscated by Hitler and used to plan the Nazi invasion of Britain have recently been unearthed. The black and white images of coastal beauty spots were originally taken home by families as mementoes of their visit to the island. After the outbreak of war in 1939 the German military machine collected thousands of the postcards as Adolf Hitler plotted to conquer Britain. Holiday snaps of the English seaside helped the Nazi high command identify suitable beaches to assault and help their troops recognise landmarks. The images were contained alongside annotated maps of the UK in eight booklets called Militargeographische Angaben uber England - Military Geographical information about England.
British wartime population faced eating plankton from Scottish sea lochs to avert food shortages
Plans were drawn up in the UK to harvest the microscopic creatures to sustain the country if food supplies were cut off during WWII. Secret letters between academics that proposed harvesting tons of protein-rich plankton from Scottish sea lochs have just been discovered. They claimed the waters were "soup-like" in richness with nutritional material and that some types of plankton were quite "tasty." They made diagrams of nets, explored areas where it could work and carried out trials from 1941-1943. Geoffrey Moore, a professor in marine biology at University of London, has discovered the plans in the archives at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) near Oban, in Scotland.
Hitler planned to set up his HQ in sleepy Midlands market town called Apley Hall if UK invasion had been successful
A sleepy market town in the Midlands could have been home to Adolf Hitler if the German invasion of Britain had been successful. Historians think the dictator wanted to use Apley Hall, near Norton, in the heart of the Shropshire countryside as his headquarters. Richard Westwood-Brookes, who studies historical documents, said: "As far-fetched as it may sound, the papers, which were marked top secret, earmarked a place in the middle of nowhere where Hitler hoped to set up camp during his planned invasion. The fact that some of these documents date from 1941, a year after the Battle of Britain, clearly shows that Hitler never abandoned the plan."
The British Resistance: The true story of the secret guerilla army of farmworkers trained to defy the Nazis in a suicidal last stand
You can see 11 English and Welsh counties and the Bristol Channel from this ridge. No wonder the men of "Jonah" Patrol of 202 Battalion, Home Guard had their base up here. Their accommodation was less spectacular, though. Six men would have squeezed into a damp chamber six feet below the forest floor. But the occupants would not have had to put up with it for long once it became operational, because their life expectancy was less than a fortnight. These were the men of the Auxiliary Units, volunteers equipped with some of the most dangerous weaponry available. In the event of a Nazi invasion, they were to melt away from their civilian jobs to activate OBs (operational bases) and sabotage enemy installations for as long as possible before detection and inevitable death.
Jar of rare gold coins hidden from the Nazis in the Blitz expected to fetch £80,000 at auction
A jar of gold coins dug up in a London garden 70 years after it was buried to hide it from the Nazis is set to sell at auction for £80,000. A family of Jewish refugees who fled the Third Reich for England buried the coins because they feared their treasure would be seized in a Nazi invasion. However, the family was later killed by a direct hit during the Blitz and the exact location of the coins was lost. But after 70 years in the ground, the so-called `Hackney Hoard` of U.S. Double Eagle gold coins was unearthed when Terence Castle dug a pond in his garden. An inquest ruled that the gold should be returned to its rightful owner. A descendent of the owner was found and Max Sulzbacher is now selling the collection of $20 coins at auction.
Recording Britain by Gill Saunders - A WWII project to document historic buildings under threat from bombing raids
The work of official war artists during the First and Second World Wars is widely known. Paintings from these government-funded schemes are regularly exhibited at the Imperial War Museum. Less familiar is a project called "Recording Britain", which ran 1939-1943. Initiated by Sir Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery, it was financed by the Pilgrim Trust, set up by American billionaire Edward Harkness ‘to promote Britain`s future well-being`. Whereas the war artists` remit was to depict the impact of war, "Recording Britain" was about documenting the nation`s landscape and historic buildings, under threat from bombing raids and urban sprawl.
A project to record life in the New Forest, where Mulberry Harbours were made, given a £551,000 grant
An archaeological project to record life in the New Forest has been given a £551,000 lottery grant. The "New Forest remembers - untold stories of World War II" project involves collating information, memories, photos and artefacts. Surveys from the air using infrared lights, mapping and fieldwork on WWII sites will also be carried out. The project will focus on collecting memories of military personnel, residents, evacuees and POWs who were based in the forest 1939-1945. The New Forest had 12 airfields and the remains of the building of the Mulberry Harbours for D-Day can still be seen at Lepe beach.
Neville Chamberlain held secret talks with Hitler`s henchmen to make more deals and make the Nazis look more sympathetic
British PM Neville Chamberlain held secret talks with Hitler`s henchmen to work out ways of making the Nazis look more sympathetic to Britons, classified documents reveal. The cloak-and-dagger meetings in London came after Chamberlain signed his disastrous appeasement deal with Hitler in Munich in 1938, declaring `peace for our time` on his return to Britain. The meetings were held without the knowledge of the Cabinet and Foreign Office. Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax only learned of them because of an MI5 mole in the German embassy. Documents show Chamberlain was ready to make more deals with Hitler, which would have the "happiest and most far-reaching effects for the relationship between the two countries".
Britain`s War Machine: Weapons, Resources, and Experts in the Second World War by David Edgerton
Historian David Edgerton likes statistics and technical details and worships machines. "Britain`s War Machine" - a study of British science and industry in the second world war - provides an unfamiliar picture of the war, one commanded by backroom boys: grey men with slide rules, workers working through the night shift in Orwellian arms factories, chemists in laboratories and civil servants on committees.
Search launched to trace the artist behind a mysterious WWII mural at the Ness Gun Battery in Orkney
A search has been launched to track down the artist behind a mysterious World War II mural - signed AR Woods - in the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland. Soldiers stationed at the Ness Gun Battery - which guarded one of the entrances to the Royal Navy base of Scapa Flow - created the image.
Previous attempts to figure out the identify of the mystery artist - using war records - have failed.
For more information about the Ness Battery visit `Heritage Key website`.
From Operation Sealion dossier: British seaside photos that set out Hitler`s targets
They are classic English seaside scenes which could arrive in the mail with the phrase: "Wish you were here". But in reality, these photos of the English coastline are in a top-secret dossier Adolf Hitler gave to senior Wehrmacht officers before the Nazi invasion of Britain in 1940. The postcard-like images locate English coastal towns in the path of the Nazi assault, featuring landmarks like Brighton Pier and Land`s End. The original copy of the Nazis` briefing book "Militäergeographische Angaben über England Südküste" for "Operation Sealion" includes every attack point and weakness along England`s south coast.
Did the Blitz really unify Britain: Bomb-chasers followed the raids to loot shops
The defiance of Britain as it endured 8 months of Luftwaffe bombing 70 years ago is rooted on the collective memory. Although there was some panic and chaos in those first few nights, says Juliet Gardiner - author of "The Blitz: The British Under Attack" - the term "Blitz spirit" symbolises two qualities that emerged: endurance and defiance. But it`s important not to be over-sentimental about the Blitz. Some people used the crisis for their own gain: "Bomb-chasers" followed the German bombing raids so they could loot shops, while some people were charged to get a place on the Tube to sleep at night.
Nazis planned to wear British uniforms to invade the United Kingdom
The Nazis planned to invade Britain in 1940 by wearing British uniforms and making use of two stairways cut in the cliffs at Dover to creep along the beach, MI5 files reveal. The Nazi invasion plans (part of the Operation Sea Lion) are in a report by a member of a German intelligence unit called Sonderstab Hollmann - led by Wilhelm Hollmann. The group spent March 1940 training on going ashore from barges on the rivers and canals of the Low Countries. Werner Janowski, said his unit was to arrive under cover of darkness in Allied uniforms, as others had during the Nazi invasions of France and the Low Countries.
The last battle on British soil? Little-known conflict at Graveney Marsh recalled after 70 years
Ordered to capture any downed German aircrew the soldiers of the 1st Battalion London Irish Rifles were to have themselves a place in military history: they fought the last battle on the British soil. During the Battle of Britain, they were ordered to pick up the crew of a crashed German Junkers 88 bomber only to find the Germans waiting with machine guns. The skirmish, on September 27, 1940, has been nicknamed the Battle of Graveney Marsh. Later in the local pub "we gave the Germans pints of beer in exchange for a few souvenirs. I got a set of enamel Luftwaffe wings," recalls George Willis.
Danger UXB: The Heroic Story of the WWII Bomb Disposal Teams by James Owen (WWII book review)
The story begins with the German fuse expert at Rheinmetall before the war, developing new types of fuses. The fuse was the major concern of the bomb disposal teams - given the array of conventional, delayed-action and anti-handling fuses the Germans used. And the fuses would be deployed in regular bombs, incendiaries, Parachute mines, butterfly bombs and the V1 flying bombs and V2 rockets. Unexploded bombs also caused disruption: closure of roads, railways lines, and factories. The British Government and Armed Forces reacted by forming a committee, including several English eccentrics, and arguing about minor things.
The Last Dance by Denys Blakeway (book review) -- How the fears of war took over in 1936
The Last Dance is a study of the year in which Britain first noticed the storm clouds gathering. Denys Blakeway argues that 1936 was the year when fear of war and preparation for conflict overtook domestic concerns in the Great Britain. A storm was gathering. German army marched into the Rhineland, while a Right-wing rebellion in Spain led to the outbreak of civil war. These events were seen as first signs of a wider struggle. In UK 1936 was "the year of three kings" - beginning with the death of George V and ending with the resignation of Edward VIII and the accession of his younger brother, who became George VI.
GHQ Auxiliary Units - A secret army of British resistance fighters (includes interview)
During the early years of WWII Britain stood alone against the Third Reich and the Nazi invasion loomed. In 1940 the Government set up a secret army of resistance fighters to harass an invading German army. Members of the Home Guard were recruited to the GHQ Auxiliary Units. The existence of the units was revealed in 1968, when David Lampe wrote "The Last Ditch: Britain`s Resistance Plans Against the Nazis". Claude Varley said the units were not like the Home Guard in the Dad`s Army: "If the Germans had landed we would have shot them as fast as we could. It wasn`t an amateurish movement. We were all highly trained as saboteurs."
Youngest British World War II service casualty identified as a 14yo boy
A 14-year-old boy has been confirmed as the UK`s youngest known service member to have been killed in the Second World War. Reginald Earnshaw was aged 14 years and 152 days when he perished under enemy fire on the SS North Devon on 6 July 1941. The merchant navy cabin boy had lied about his age, stating that he was 15, so he could join the fight against the Nazis. The youngest known service casualty of World War Two was previously Raymond Steed, another merchant seaman, who was killed aged 14 years and 207 days.
Vast majority of British WWII veterans agree: This isn`t the Britain we fought for
3 years ago Nicholas Pringle asked WW2 veterans to send in their experiences about Britain. The 150 replies, published as a book, reveal the profound disillusion. "I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me, and I wonder why I ever tried," wrote a sailor. "My patriotism has gone out of the window," said another. Immigration tops the list: "Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought... are having to sell our homes for care." Many are bewildered by a multicultural Britain that they were never consulted about. "Our British culture is draining away... and we are almost forbidden to make any comment."
10,000 people were prosecuted of looting in wartime Britain
The heroic image of wartime Plymouth has been crushed by a new book, "Looting in Wartime Britain," by historian Todd Gray. The looters moved in as Nazi bombs rained down - and shockingly, many were men and women in positions of trust. Luftwaffe`s heaviest bombing raids over Plymouth`s took place from March to April of 1941. It was during this period that looting was heaviest, with servicemen, wardens and firefighters all taking part. Public shock at the bombing was replaced by anger as looting spread across the country. Nationwide over 10,000 people were prosecuted.
Britain`s World War Two films were more than just propaganda: Home Front Britain
In the key matters – arming its soldiers and invading other countries – the start of WWII saw Nazi Germany with a good head start. The same went for brainwashing its citizens. Joseph Goebbels and Department of Film had been pumping out Nazi propaganda since the Reichstag burned down in 1933. Britain`s answer to Leni Riefenstahl was Humphrey Jennings, whose trilogy of war films (Listen to Britain, Fires Were Started, A Diary for Timothy) surpass the rest of the propaganda by the Ministry of Information`s Crown Film Unit. Most of it`s 2,000 films are in the vaults of the British Film Institute, but a select few can be seen in documentary series "Home Front Britain".
England`s Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940-1942 by Colin Smith
"England`s Last War Against France" covers a forgotten war within a war, one that was vital, but never formally declared. From an exchange of bullets and bayonet thrusts in July 1940 between French officers and a Royal Navy boarding party in a French submarine at Devonport, to Operation Torch in 1942, when an Anglo-American armada invaded North Africa, Britain and Vichy France were in a low-intensity war. France promised to keep its fleet beyond German control, but Churchill was not convinced. The bombardment of the French fleet at the port of Mers-el-Kébir in July 1940 killed 1,297 French sailors - while an attempt to seize the French port of Dakar failed.
British memories from the day the second world war broke out
September 3 1939 Neville Chamberlain announced that Britain was at war with Nazi Germany. The entire population had gas masks and evacuation plans for children were in motion. Bomb shelters were built in gardens. With the population of London told to expect a bombing attack as soon as war was declared, many children were uprooted to places believed to be of no strategic interest to Luftwaffe. There is film footage of kids with labels around their necks, parcelled for distribution, being crammed into trains. Dorothy Tyler, who had won a high jump silver medal at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, realised there would be no Games in 1940.
King George VI felt `relieved` when World War II started
King George VI wrote of his "relief" after the war had finally broken out between Britain and Third Reich, in a diary entry to go on public display for the first time. On 3 Sept.1939 - the day that PM Neville Chamberlain declared war - the monarch wrote: "As 11 o`clock struck that fateful morning I had a certain feeling of relief that those 10 anxious days of intensive negotiations with Germany over Poland ... were over." The diary entry, with the naval jacket worn by the king as he addressed the British Empire that evening, are to be showed in an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum to mark the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, called "Outbreak".
To Keep the British Isles Afloat: FDR`s Men in Churchill`s London, 1941 [book review]
Thomas Parrish, the author of several WW2 books, explores how a sleepy, isolationist America needed to be awakened, and how FDR used on two remarkable men (Harry Hopkins and Averell Harriman) to help sound the alarm and secure aid for Britain. The ever-pragmatic Roosevelt sent Hopkins to London as his "personal representative" to investigate the boozy Churchill and evaluate Britain`s chances against Third Reich. Then, reassured by Hopkins`s favorable report, he sent over financier Harriman to do "everything that we can do, short of war, to keep the British Isles afloat."
All clear for the guns - railway posters from the Second World War
To mark Victory in Europe (VE) Day, the National Railway Museum in York has brought out WWII posters used to highlight the key role of the railways. From the start of the war in 1939, control of the railways was passed to the Railway Executive Committee. Trains were harder to bomb and quicker to repair than other modes of transport. Railway workers knew that line maintenance and swift track and bridge repair after Luftwaffe attacks were crucial. During the war 395 railway staff lost their lives and over 2,400 were injured while on duty.
How the wartime railways put Britain on track to beat the Nazis
The railways kept Britain on track during World War Two - and numbers prove it. During one weekend in September 1939, 1.3 million kids were moved to the rural area in 3,000 trains. The next year, as allied troops were brought back from Dunkirk, 600 trains were put on standby to move 319,000 soldiers to camps and hospitals throughout Britain. The National Railway Museum is home to an invaluable collection of rail artwork and with the anniversary of VE Day, the York visitor attraction is hoping to make the public aware of the significant role played by the train network during the war.
Churchill`s Underground Army: A History of the Auxiliary Units in World War II (Article no longer available from the original source)
What if the Battle of Britain had been lost? What if Third Reich had invaded and annexed British shores? John Warwicker, the author of Churchill`s Underground Army, has patiently and tenaciously dug up the facts. On the home front, in 1940, people thought the Home Guard was the last line of defence against the Nazis. But, unknown to all but a handful of our war leaders, set up behind that line and operating under cover of secrecy were the men of the Auxiliary Units, AKA auxiliers. Recruited in mid-1940, they were trained to kill and destroy the enemy in the event of Nazi occupation.
Maps and aerial photos reveal Hitler`s plans to turn Blackpool into Nazi resort
Adolf Hitler wanted his stormtroopers to goose-step down Blackpool`s golden mile and see the swastika fly from Blackpool tower, newly released documents claim. The seaside resort avoided the Lutwaffe`s bombing raids despite being an important WW2 military center (Wellington bombers were built there). Maps and aerial photographs discovered in a military base in Germany, by Michael Cole, supposedly reveal Hitler`s grand design for Blackpool, which may explain why it was spared the fate of such cities as Coventry, which faced massive Luftwaffe bombing raids in 1940.
The Phoney War turned horribly real when Nazi destroyers laid mines
It was still the period of the so-called Phoney War, those last few months of 1939 when Britain held its breath. Luftwaffe air raids had still to begin in earnest - only the war at sea was really under way, Nazi U-boats having already torpedoed thousands of tons of British merchant shipping. Suddenly, the conflict erupted literally on Tyneside`s doorstep when, over the night of December 12-13, five German destroyers laid mines in and around the river mouth. The results were devastating: 4 trawlers in all were lost in just 3 days.
Secret army of scallywags to sabotage German occupation of Britain
By day they were ordinary civilians in a Britain gripped by fear of invasion by Adolf Hitler`s Wehrmacht. The only clue to their alter egos might have been the pieces of paper in their pockets, informing any police officer suspicious of their behaviour "to ask no questions of the bearer but phone this number". But new information have emerged of the role played by a "resistance" army of young men and women chosen as would-be saboteurs. In the dark days of 1940, the unit grew to 6,000 members, who operated in small guerilla groups. Recruited to disrupt a Nazi occupation force the teams prepared by carrying out secret missions, known as "scallywagging", at night.
Book review: Stranger In The House by Julie Summers - The return of WWII troops
Maureen Cleaver was 7yo in 1939 when her father John was mobilized - and she didn`t see him again for 6 years. But she remembers the night he came home: there was a knock at the door and Maureen to answer it. "There stood Dad, but he didn`t recognise the 13yo girl standing there as his daughter. In his mind, I was still a little girl," Maureen recalls. "Oh, I`m sorry, I`ve come to the wrong house," he said, and turned round to leave. --- Maureen`s experience is only one of the tragic stories of the women left behind to keep the family going during WWII. Boys who came back were not the boys who marched away. They were men, with different ideas.
British government tapped civil servants` phonecalls to expose `loose lips`
Dozens of Whitehall lines and calls to World War II armament contractors were eavesdropped for signs of careless talk after a request from MI5. Records freed under the Freedom of Information Act also show how wartime Britain strained under the pressure of the war effort and Luftwaffe air raids. The Postal and Telegraph Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information recorded tense conversations between family members as Nazi bombs fell on London. Mark Dunton said: "You get some sense of Whitehall working at full tilt and people working under pressure and some of the conversations are very tense to say the least."
Austerity Britain: 1945-1951 - Revisiting the dark days of postwar Britain
In "Austerity Britain: 1945-1951," social historian David Kynaston tells the story of those grim postwar years. Reading the many first-person accounts in this detailed volume, you begin to see that, for countless people in that place at that time, life was lived in a world without color: a place of long lines, of shortages, of frustration. All the combatant nations of WWII had their troubles setting to postwar realities in the late 1940s. The cost of victory in Britain, however, had been high: the loss of foreign assets and the "convertibility crisis" that saw a run on the pound sterling.
Britain`s Holocaust shame: Using force to place survivors back to German camps (Article no longer available from the original source)
When British soldiers freed the concentration camps of Nazi Germany the survivors hailed them as saviours. British leaders promised that the world would never forget their agony. 2 years later the British governmemt was charged of mistreating thousands of survivors, who, when kept from fleeing to Palestine, had been forcibly sent back to barbed-wire camps in Germany, staffed by Germans. Secret files published at the National Archives show the fate of Jewish immigrants aboard the 1947 refugee ship Exodus and the propaganda battle that ensued when Britain used force to return them to Germany.
The Bethnal Green Tube: One of worst civilian disasters in UK during WWII
Victims of the Bethnal Green Tube disaster in London have been recalled at its 65th anniversary service. Alf Morris spoke about his memories of the deadly crush - one of Britain`s worst civilian disasters during World War II. 3 March, 1943: a crowd was descending the steps into Bethnal Green underground station to take shelter from an air-raid. All of a sudden, they surged forward and in the crush 173 people were killed. The incident was censored and it took years for the truth to be revealed. It was later realized that people were startled after hearing a new type of anti-aircraft rocket being launched nearby.
Char B Tank, used during the WWII occupation of Jersey, heading back (Article no longer available from the original source)
A german tank used during the WWII occupation of Jersey is heading back to the island after 6 decades. After the 1945 Allied victory the Char B Tank was shipped to the Bovington Tank Museum: presently under a major rebuild. Now the 25-tonne former heavyweight is temporarily returning to its wartime home to form a display at the Jersey War Tunnels attraction. Tank museum curator David Willey said: "The Char B has great significance to the island as it was one of 17 tanks... stationed in Jersey." Andrew Ridgway explained: "knowing that there was a Renault Char B1 in the collection that had been based in Jersey... I offered accommodation for it in Jersey."
The Defence of Worcestershire by Mick Wilks (Article no longer available from the original source)
Apart from the Channel Isles, no part of the British Isles was invaded by Nazi Germany. But the authorities has to prepare for just such an eventuality, and how this was done in Worcestershire is the subject of "The Defence of Worcestershire" by Mick Wilks, who 5 years ago co-wrote with Bernard Lowry The Mercian Maquis. The earlier book told the unknown story of the Auxiliary Units, which has been set up in secrecy to fight as partisans against a German invasion. Both books draw on Wilks`s participation in the Defence of Britain project, an effort to record and preserve military heritage.
Adolf Hitler planned to halt invasion of Britain at Northampton
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was plotting to make Northampton his northernmost outpost in an invasion of Britain. Once they had conquered the town, Hitler expected the rest of the demoralised nation would crumble and succumb to German occupation. The details of Hitler`s doomed masterplan, known as Unternehmen Seelowe (Operation Sealion) are revealed in a book published by Oxford`s Bodleian Library. German Invasion Plans for the British Isles, 1940 is a compilation of 3 Nazi portfolios which have been stored in the library`s archives for decades. The invasion plan included maps and aerial photographs of major routes and tactical targets in the UK.
Book about old WW2 defences like anti-tank blocks in Warwickshire
When Adolf Hitler said it would be necessary to "eliminate" the English homeland, Warwickshire was ready: Anti-tank blocks, pillboxes and bombing decoy sites were set up. Many of these old defences have survived and now are subject of a book by military history lover Steve Carvell. Many of the defences are off the beaten track and so he has incorporated them into country walks as part of his book. His interest in fortifications began with ancient British hill forts and Roman remains. "I ran out of those so began looking at 20th century fortifications ... The demolition of many of these WWII defences began after the threat of Nazi invasion ended and is still going on."
This upset Hitler a lot. England cheered: The early World War II years
In extracts from his diaries, Robin Denniston, recalls life in the early years of World War II. -- Summer Holidays 1939: The Germans and Poles came to a deadlock in the Danzig dispute, the Poles backed up by England and France. War now was inevitable. -- Christmas Holidays 1939-1940: On the face of things, the map of the world is unchanged. Finland is holding out and driving back the overwhelming forces of the hammer and sickle. All is quiet on the western front. -- Summer Term 1940: ...Italy`s entry into the war against the Allies. Things were now going very badly for Britain. She was left alone with nobody to help her but the "moral assistance" of America.
Sex, fear and looting: stories of the Blitz - the Battle of Britain
New history based on interviews gives unvarnished account of bombings and air battle. The slackers, the looters and the just plain terrified persons of the Blitz are being heard, more than 60 years after the bombs fell. The voices often edited out of the patriotic version of Britain`s finest hour resurface in a new history of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain. Alison Hancock, Women`s Auxiliary Air Force: "I was at a station where you had to suck up to the sergeant because he`d decide where you were going to be posted. I remember sitting on a bench and letting him kiss me because I wanted to go to Fighter Command to be a plotter."
Women`s Home Defence groups against Nazi invasion
In 1940, the threat of Nazi invasion prompted women to take up arms - and poison for themselves. One strategy was to set up illegal Women`s Home Defence groups. These were uniformed, private armies whose members trained in unarmed combat and learned how to fire a tommy gun, while using opera glasses to scan the skies for German paratroopers. Lady Helena Gleichen set up her own private army to protect her home. She demanded that the Shropshire Light Infantry give her 80 rifles with ammunition, "I could do with some machine guns, too, if you have any to spare." When request was denied she resorted to her own collection of antique weapons.
The worst WW2 civilian disaster - Rocket testing caused panic (Article no longer available from the original source)
The worst civilian disaster of World War Two happened in the East End, and now a pair of architects wants to mark the tragedy with a huge bronze `floating` staircase. On March 3 1943, 173 people were crushed to death on a staircase at tube station, after panic broke out. The air raid siren had gone off just after 8pm that evening, and hundreds of people were queuing to get into the station. But it was not a German bomb that caused the disaster. The unfamiliar and terrifying sound of rockets being tested nearby caused the crowd to panic and surge forward, tripping on the dark, wet staircase and creating a deathly crush.
They may have been shot by MI5 as a precaution if the Nazis had landed (Article no longer available from the original source)
Italian cafe owners, leaders of the Welsh Nationalist Party and an elderly nun were blacklisted as potential collaborators with Adolf Hitler in Wales. Historian Ivor Wynne Jones says the 156 people on the list would have been arrested and some might even have been shot as a precaution if the Nazis had landed in Britain. His book, Hitler`s Celtic Echo, also suggests former Prime Minister David Lloyd George may have hoped to become Britain`s puppet leader. The book features the full Welsh list of people regarded by MI5 as potential threats to British security after an invasion.