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World War 2 The Homefront WW2

Updated on February 7, 2012

Bombed House in Wolverhampton

1940 British Home Front

Difficult Times

In the Present day many of us think that living through the Credit crunch has been one of the most difficult times in our entire lives, worrying where our next meal may come from, if we can afford the next payment on our mortgage, wondering how we will cope if fuel prices rise again, could we afford to run our cars?, heat and light our homes? can we afford to eat today?.

Although times are tough today we will pull through it soon and our lives will eventually get back to normal.

To the people who lived through World War 2 the credit crunch that we are going through today would be just a little blip in their everyday way of life, the worries and fears that we in the present day have are paled in comparison with how families used to live during the worst time in the history of the world.

Rationing made it difficult for everyone even if they had enough money to buy the best rationing ensured that no matter of status everyone had the same amount of food, clothing and fuel.

The constant threat of losing your home or even your life in an air attack by German bombers ensured a country living in constant fear.

Fearing for the lives of sons brothers and fathers fighting in foreign lands added to their worries.

People carried Gas masks fearing a gas attack at any moment in time, they even had special suits made for babies.

There was also the constant threat of imminent invasion by the German armed forces.

The people of Britain had it tough but by pulling together and making do with what they had the morale of the common people was at an all time high. Many people who survived World War 2 at home remember it as a time of hope and a time of pride in their country and may people still refer to World War 2 as the best time in their lives.

Morrison shelter

Anderson Shelter

Some people used the roof of their Anderson Shelter as a vegetable garden.
Some people used the roof of their Anderson Shelter as a vegetable garden.

Newsreel from the Battle of Britain

Preparing The Home for War

Shortly before the outbreak of WW2 leaflets were sent out to every household and business around Britain, informing the population to prepare their homes for enemy bombing raids, the leaflets information on blackout protection, covering windows and doors with either thick black curtains or even painting windows black to prevent light from housing being seen from the air.

As well as blackout for windows people were advised to tape up windows to prevent flying shards of glass should a bomb explode in the vicinity

Gas Masks were issued to every member of the population in preparation for Gas attacks from the air and decontamination stations were set up in the event of a gas attack.

Morrison shelters were also issued "where available" for inside the home a Morrison shelter was a cage fitted around a bed which offered protection from rubble and debris if your home suffered a direct hit. The Morrison shelter was provided free to households who's total income was less than £350.00 a year.

Anderson Shelters which were mainly used in the suburbs rather than in the city, because city homes rarely had gardens, were sectional corrugated iron shelters intended for use in the back garden of the home, the shelters were built into holes in the ground at least one meter deep and the earth from the hole was then spread on top of the shelter for extra protection.

Because the Anderson shelters were partially underground they were cold, damp and draughty and if there was a heavy rainfall they would often flood, but lessons were learned and people started putting drainage systems in place to help prevent the flooding.

Although the Anderson shelter would not survive a direct hit they were good protection against near misses and flying fragments.

People were resourceful and came up with ingenious ways of heating their Anderson shelters, drinks could be kept warm in thermos flasks, or Hay bottles which were bags wrapped around bottles of hot liquid which were stuffed with Hay or wrapped up newspapers, a brick sat in front of the coal fire for an hour or 2 then wrapped in a woolen jumper would make a great bed warmer and a heater was made from a candle and two clay flowerpots place the candle in one of the flowerpots lighting it and putting the other flowerpot upside down on top of the other provided a great source of heat.

Casualty Listing

News from The Front

Because Television was blacked out during World War Two, families would sit around their wireless (radio) for entertainment and to hear news from the front line, and a trip to the local cinema was in order if you wanted to see moving pictures from the war, and the latest information from the famous Pathe News.

The morning newspapers were a must read for those who had family fighting in one of the many battles of World War 2 because there was a list of casualties from the previous day.

some people found out about the wounding or even death of a family member from the newspapers before they received the dreaded telegraph message edged in black.

Letters were sent home from the front line every day but they were censored and sections were blacked out for secrecy although some soldiers wrote in code so that their families knew where they were fighting their war some beat the censors but most didn't.


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    • profile image

      Paula Fredrickson 

      8 years ago

      I am currently writing a two-part story for our newspaper about one of the women who lives in our community and was an evacuee and survivor of the Blitz, etc, as a child.

      What courage these men, women and children had. It makes our petty little complaints as Americans today, so insignificant.

    • profile image

      Brian Worts 

      8 years ago

      Children at the Primary School and my own grand children ask me "were you scared" in WW2. I don't think that any of the children were. I was five at the outbreak of war. We didn't know anything else. As it developed the daily routines were gasmasks, air-raid sirens, shelters,collecting shrapnel and military badges and asking american soldiers "got any gum chum". We learnt aircraft recognition by sight and by sound. "It's OK mum they're ours". Later there were doodlebugs and rockets. The former landed close to us on two occasions. Another time I was in a dentist's crowded waiting room opposite Harrow Hospital, heard the familiar chugging, looked out the window, just as the engine stopped, and I shouted 'it's a buzz bomb get down' (all very dramatic for a kid). It missed the hospital and demolished a large pub at the bottom of the hill. They were safe to watch as long as the engine was going. When it stopped you took cover unless it had already passed on its lethal journey. I watched a Hurrican chasing one, the pilot was trying to nudge with his wing to direct it to open country.

      Looking back it was totally different for mothers particularly. They must have been terrified at times because they had their children to look after. I was once in the Morrison Shelter in bed with my mother when there was a screech followed by a huge crash. She had hugged me and screamed "this is us". It turned out that one of our anti aircraft shells had missed it's target and demolished a bungalow 100 yards from our home. What goes up must come down. The elderly residents were killed. My father was in a bomber squadron in the RAF. Thousands of children like me were brought up in those times by their mothers. So mum must also have dreaded the knock on the door (or letter) to say that Dad was missing. Most homes did not have telephones in those days. My concern was when would he come home on leave and play with me! We had moved quickly from Battersea (the Power Station was a target) out to South Harrow. Our house in Battersea was flattened during a raid only 10 days after we'd gone. My primary school was overcrowded because of the movement of people from central london to the outskirts. The shelter was the cloakroom on the ground floor in the centre of the school. Originally our shelter at home was 'under the stairs' then, elderly Mr & Mrs Finn next door had an Anderson in their garden, and a door in the fence was built so that we could share it. Next was the indoor Morrison. If the raid wasn't close to us I remember sitting on the steps of the Anderson at night watching the searchlights and hearing the noise.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great info !

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I've been to the air rauid shelters in Stockport, it's a great day out.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      very gooooooooood , explanation , really enjoyed readiing it .

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I was brought up in SE London during WW2 and my children are always asking me to tell stories of how it was during the war. My parents opted to keep me with them and not be evacuated. In 1944 we lived in Forest Hill and in the late afternoon of 14 August a V1 rocket fell on the gas mains at the intersection of Ackroyd Road and Brockley Rise; the church was in flames and our flat was demolished. My Mum and I were buried for a few hours. My Dad, who was in the Royal Observer Corps, had built us a shelter under the stairs so we were resonably OK but Mum was black and blue from the blast by the time the air raid wardens dug us out. Later we went to live with my Grandma in Carholme Road, Forest Hill. She had an Anderson shelter in her garden but unfortunately the Ravensbourne River ran underneath it and it was always flooded so she got a Morrison Shelter for inside the house. Lots more stories about the anti aircraft gun outside our house and a rogue barrage balloon that ended up in our front garden!

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      10 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks for your comment Brian, My family often talked about being brought up during world war 2 and I was always asking question after question about their lives back then, although long before my time I have always had a passion to learn as much as possible about WW1 and WW2, Hubpages lets me share that passion with anyone willing to listen lol.....jimmy

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      10 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Nice hub on a subject in which I have a lot of interest, it was after all only a generation ago for some of us that actually lived through all this. Hard to believe how life has changed in the last 50 years or so.


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