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June 12, 2017

15 Powerful Black and White Photos of London During the Blitz

The heavy and frequent bombing attacks on London and other cities was known as the Blitz, from the German word Blitzkrieg meaning 'lightning war'. Night after night, from September 1940 until May 1941, German bombers attacked British cities, ports and industrial areas.

London was bombed ever day and night, bar one, for 11 weeks. One third of London was destroyed. Below is a selection of 15 powerful photos of London during the Blitz:

1. A Raid From Above

Two German bombers fly over south-east London on the first day of the Blitz, 7 September 1940.

2. St Paul's Cathedral, London

St Paul's Cathedral seen through smoke caused by a bombing raid on London in December 1940.

3. Fires in Manchester

Buildings in Manchester burn after an air raid on the night of 23 December 1940.

4. Taking Shelter

A woman sleeps on a bed made on top of a row of barrels in the cellar of a wine merchant's in East London in 1940.

5. Damage in South London

A bus lies in a crater in Balham, south London, after a bombing raid.

6. Broadgate, Central Coventry

Bomb damage in the centre of Coventry after the devastating German air raid on the night of 14 November 1940.

7. Sheltering in the Tube

Civilians take shelter in Elephant and Castle Underground Station in south London during an air raid in November 1940.

8. Queen's Road, Birmingham

One badly damaged house still stands amidst the piles of timber and rubble following an air raid on Queen's Road, Aston, Birmingham, on 11 December 1940.

9. Passing Time in an Air Raid Shelter

Local boys play a game of cards in an air raid shelter in south-east London in November 1940.

10. Clearing Damage in Hull

Troops of 9th Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment, clear bomb damage in Hull sustained during the Blitz.

11. Mannequins Outside John Lewis, London

Mannequins litter the pavement outside the John Lewis department store on London’s Oxford Street after an air raid in September 1940.

12. Refreshments in an Air Raid Shelter

Volunteers prepare to distribute tea to people taking shelter in North London.

13. Coventry Cathedral

The ruins of Coventry Cathedral two days after the air raid on the city in November 1940.

14. A Makeshift Bed

A man sleeping in a stone sarcophagus in an East London church in November 1940.

15. Life Goes On in London

A young boy places a Union flag into the remains of his home, which was destroyed in an air raid on London in 1940.

(via Imperial War Museums)


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