70th Anniversary of WWII London Blitz

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via Gettys Images

Tomorrow will mark the 70th anniversary of the dark afternoon on September 7th 1940, when a fleet of Nazi German air bombers ambushed London for 76 consecutive nights, awakening a new chapter to World War II.

The Blitz, which lasted until May 10, saw the Capital’s skyline explode in utter turmoil as hundreds of Nazi planes descended the Thames in their attempts to demoralize the nation.

One eye witness Colin Perry recollects:  “Directly above me were literally hundreds of planes … the sky was full of them. Bombers hemmed in with fighters, like bees around their queen, like destroyers round the battleship, so came Jerry.”

The unrelenting raid devastated numerous towns and cities throughout the Kingdom,  including London, Liverpool, Coventry, Belfast and Birmingham.

London’s Blitz is recorded in sobering detail by London Fire Brigade records.  The September 7th advance on the Capital began slowly but between 5:30pm  and 6.00pm some 348 German bombers escorted by 617 fighters pounded the city. Two hours later, guided by their path of destruction, a second wave of invaders opened fire once again targeting the islands infrastructure and its’ industrial and military faculties.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will launch an exhibition at the London Transport Museum to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Blitz. The collection, called ‘Under Attack’- London, Coventry and Dresden, examines public transport in the three cities during World War II. The collection features a variety of works by acclaimed artists of the period including Tom Eckersley, Eric Kennington and Fougasse. The exhibition also displays a wartime bus, a London Transport air raid shelter and 20 wartime transport posters.

A representative for the London Transport Museum comments: “The exhibition will explore the role of public transport in helping to create a sense of identity and normality for the three cities during the Second World War.

Claire McCormmack