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October 20, 2021

Astonishing Color Photos of Britain During World War II

After Nazi Germany invaded Poland, Britain entered the Second World War by declaring war on Germany in 1939. Despite the defeat of its European allies in the first year of the war, Britain and its Empire continued the fight alone against Germany.

In 1940, the Royal Air Force defeated the German Luftwaffe in a struggle for control of the skies in the Battle of Britain. Urban areas suffered heavy bombing during the Blitz. The Grand Alliance of Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union formed in 1941 leading the Allies against the Axis powers.

There were eventual hard-fought victories in the Battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa campaign and the Italian campaign. British forces played an important role in the Normandy landings of 1944 and the liberation of Europe, achieved with its allies the United States, the Soviet Union and other Allied countries.

The British Army led the Burma campaign against Japan and the British Pacific Fleet fought Japan at sea. British scientists contributed to the Manhattan Project which led to the surrender of Japan.

These astonishing color photos show what life of Britain looked like during World War II.

Hill street, Richmond in wartime, circa September 1939

London during the Blitz, September 1940

Shot in a Guernsy street soon after the German invasion on June 30, 1940

Bomb damage, September 1940

London Park, 1941

London window shopping, 1941

London, 1941

London, 1941

Colchester, 1942

Mrs. Edgar working on a Rolls Royce aero engine at the factory at Hillington outside Glasgow, 1942

Refugees from Plymouth at Tapeley Park, October 1942

Women painting finished petrol self-sealing tanks, December 1942

A modern rubber tyred tractor imported from the USA used on a farm in Drayton, St. Leonard, Oxfordshire, spring 1943

British Army soldiers, stationed on the island, helping local women and residents pick daffodils during the annual spring harvest of blooms on the island of St Mary's, Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall, March 1943

British war workers take a seaside break on a beach in Cornwall, September 6, 1943

Edinburgh Castle, 1943

Flowers grow on bomb site in Gresham Street, London, July 1943

Kew Gardens, May 1943

Members of the Home Guard on a camouflaged exercise in August 1943

Miss Jane Richardson aiding the war effort by sorting rivets as part of the Women's Royal Voluntary Service in Rickmansworth, England, October 1943

Mrs Mortimer, wife of the Chairman of Bath Football Club, washing the club's kits with her husband in their garden in Bath, September 1943

Seaside break, Cornwall, September 1943

Soldiers helping to pick daffodils at St. Mary's, Scilly Isles, where they were stationed, March 1943

Wartime wedding of Captain W Davies of the Royal Dragoon Guards and Miss Margaret Moore, an ATS officer at West Wickham church in Kent, May 1943

A Land Army girl busy with her Standard Fordson tractor in Oxfordshire, 1944

A Land Girl, one of the Women's Land Army, lying down with recently hatched chicks at Redlands breeding poultry farm in South Holmwood, Surrey, March 1944

A member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force picks holly with an American Corporal at an American Airbase during December 1944

A young boy riding a milk cart in Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales, 1944

Bomb damage, July 1944

Boy scouts, cubs and sea scouts collecting waste paper for salvage at Balderton, Nottinghamshire, 1944

British servicewomen enjoying a 'garden' on a bombed-out site in London, 1944

Cambridge Market Square, circa 1944

Cambridge street, 1944

Ducklings being fed while Master Sergeant Wellmaker cleans the guns of a B17-G of the 401st. Bomb Squadron at Bassingbourn Base in Cambridgeshire, 1944

Henley-on-Thames, May 1944

Henley-on-Thames, 1944

Lance Bombardier Jack Grundy of the Royal Artillery embraces his wife Dorothy and children Randall and Gilda at his home in Irby in Cheshire, at the start of seven days leave, April 14, 1944

Land Army girls, 1944

London, 1944

London’s skyline photographed from atop St Pauls Cathedral looking down Fleet street towards the Houses of Parliament, 1944

Londoners enjoying a sunny day at Hyde Park, May 1944

Marlow, Buckinghamshire, May 1944

Members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force dancing Polish National dances in traditional Polish costume, being taught by Polish airmen at a RAF base in Lincolnshire, August 1944

Moreton-in-Marsh, May 1944

Moreton-in-Marsh, May 1944

Piccadilly Circus, 1944

Pupils from a primary school out walking, rest beside a river path at Saxon Road, Abingdon, July 1944

RAF personnel relaxing on the river at Stratford-on -Avon, 1944

Royston station, 1944

Stratford-upon-Avon, April 1944

Stratford-upon-Avon, May 1944

Stratford-upon-Avon, April 1944

The family butcher, T.D. Dennis from Ashwell, Hertfordshire, busy on his rounds bringing the weekly ration, about a shilling and tuppence worth a head for about 8 ounces, 1944

Trafalgar Square, 1944

Trafalgar Square, 1944

Two farm hands (Land Army girls) quenching their thirst, 1944

View of swimmers and spectators enjoying the entertainment at the Open Air Swimming Pool Lido on the South Shore in Blackpool, Lancashire during wartime, July 27, 1944

White Swan Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon, circa 1944

Workmen attending to their vegetable garden in the shadow of the Albert memorial, April 1944

A good day at the seaside near Dover, St. Margaret's Cliff, 1945

Flags are out for V-E day celebrations. High Street, Eye, Suffolk, May 1945

Goudhurst, Kent, 1945

Lower Regent street, 1945

Tight squeeze, Croydon, London, 1945

VE Day in Whitehall, May 8, 1945


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