The London Blitz: Children Present (September 1940-May 1941)

Figure 1.--These bombed-out London children warm themselves around a brazier with a burning wood fire. Most school-age children had been evacuated at the onset of the War, but by the time of the Blitz had convinced their parents to let them come home. Most of these children look quite young and may not have been evacuated. Although surrounded by wreckage, they were still with their parents. The photograph is undated, but was probably taken in October 1940.

If the Blitz had come in September 1939 the Germans would have found a London virtually devoid of childten. London when the Blitz began, however, was full of kids. Most of the children had been evacuated when the war began (September 1939). When the German bombers did not come after the declaration of War and the Phony war developed, the evacuated children began returning to London and other large cities. The children begged their parents to come home and their pleas were difficult to resist when there seemed to be no danger, especially as Christmas approaxched. Most of the kids had been brought home by Christmas (December 1939). Thus when the Blitz began (September 1940), London was again full of kids. The attacks on London began very suddenly. Even after the Battle of Britain began, the Luftwaffe avoided London. The sudden shift of tactics caught both the RAF and London civilians by surprise. Evacuating the children a second time proved more difficult, in part because the kids were much wiser. The original evacuation had been viewed by the children as a kark--a great adventure. They now knew that it meant separation from their parents. Many had a hard time getting home and wanted no part of a second evacuation. Parents of course found it difficult to resist the pleas of a teary-eyed child. Some parents held fast, but many did not. As a result, children were very much at of the Blitz, just what the British Governmentt had tried to prevent.


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Created: 5:23 PM 8/5/2011
Last updated: 5:23 PM 8/5/2011