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Britain at war

Updated on June 22, 2015
Winston Churchill during the Second World War
Winston Churchill during the Second World War | Source

Wartime in the United Kingdom

In the twentieth century, there were two world wars within thirty years and Britain was in the thick of them both. The UK had barely recovered from the First World War when along came another. There are several articles on this site about these times and I'm collecting them here.

This is an ongoing project and articles will be added in the future, so check back. I've also recommended a few books you might find interesting (if not fascinating) and these are hugely popular at the moment. 2014 sees the one hundredth anniversary of WW1 so there are very few people alive today who remember it. But WW2 ended only seventy years ago. But yet today, reading about it and watching videos & DVDs it seems like another world and one that is so hard for us to imagine today. Thank you for visiting, and please leave your comments at the bottom of the page - I'd love to hear from you.

Do you have an article I can add here? Let me know.

The image of Winston Churchill and the gallery images below are copyright-free photographs from Wikimedia. The copyright details of the thumbnail images below is shown on the articles themselves..

Daily life during wartime

It's hard for us these days to imagine what daily life was like during war years. Here, I'm collecting articles so that we can find out more.

Lessons from a wartime teenager
Lessons from a wartime teenager | Source

Did you have parents who were teenagers during the WW2?

If so then you're probably like me and were brought up to serve economical food, save fuel and 'dig for victory' - lessons that are still valid today.

Click for the article

The occupation of the Channel Islands
The occupation of the Channel Islands | Source

It was only when I visited the Channel Islands that I realised that they were occupied during WW2.

These islands are only a couple of dozen miles from mainland Britain.

For five years, thousands of British citizens lived under Nazi rule.

Read more.

The wartime diet
The wartime diet | Source

During the conflicts, food was severely rationed in the United Kingdom and people never knew what would or wouldn't be available in the shops.

But they coped - admirably and effectively.

Frugal food tips

Eric Jackson, Berlin, winter 1945
Eric Jackson, Berlin, winter 1945 | Source

This is the story of my dad who was in the British army in Berlin immediately after the war.

He made some good friends there and this article features a moving letter written to him in 1947 from a Berliner.

An excellent story of war and friendship

Read on

Curious tales

There are many stories about wartime that have been lost over time. Let's get a great collection of them right here.

Airedale Jack, war hero
Airedale Jack, war hero | Source

Did you know that dogs were extensively used during the wars?

(What's more, they are still used in combat zones throughout the world.)

This is the story of just one brave little fellow - a terrier known as Airedale Jack.

Read more here

Gustav the pigeon
Gustav the pigeon | Source

Other animals were put to good use during wartime too.

This article tells the story of the carrier pigeons who took messages back and forth from headquarters to the thick of the combat zones.

Read also about a modern find.

Learn about Gustav the pigeon

The armed forces

These articles are specifically stories about the soldiers, airmen, sailors and other men and women who spent wartime in uniform.

The warplane and its history
The warplane and its history | Source

The First World war was unusual in that it was the first time in history that aviation had played a part.

In this excellent and comprehensive article, writer Jimmy the Jock, has explained more about this development.

See fascinating photographs too. Just look at the one you see here an on the right as an example.

Read more about warplanes

Entertainment

In any war, it's important to keep up the spirits of the armed forces and the people back at home.

See a selection of wartime entertainers.

George Formby
George Formby | Source

George Formby was THE top entertainer in Britain during the Second World War.

But he had a somewhat eccentric lifestyle.

It's a sad story, too

Find out more

The Glenn Miller Story
The Glenn Miller Story | Source

Glenn Miller was incredibly popular in Britain during the Second World War.

This is a review of that fabulous film, The Glenn Miller Story.

Love it.

Find out more

The Andrews Sisters
The Andrews Sisters | Source

The music of another American act was extremely popular in Britain during the Second World War.

If you've never heard them, now's your chance.

Read more & see videos

The Mitford family
The Mitford family | Source

The Mitford Sisters

During the Second World War, and in the couple of years prior to its commencement, various members of the Mitford family were often in the news.

These six sisters were from an aristocratic family and had violently opposing political views. Seen at one time as mere brainless socialites, the sisters held the headlines often.

See the links below for details.

Unity

Diana

Deborah

War Brides
War Brides | Source

Book & film recommendations

If you're looking for a book that's not only a great story but is also truly fascinating when it comes to learning about everyday life - and the dangers - of ordinary people during those years, this is excellent.

Read more

The Longest Day
The Longest Day | Source

June 6th., 1944 saw one of the most important events of the Second World War.

This film is THE definitive depiction of this momentous occasion.

I recommend this most highly.

See more

Dunkirk
Dunkirk | Source

The evacuation of Dunkirk was a truly amazing event that sparked off one of Winston Churchill's most famous speeches.

This is a totally brilliant film about individual acts of heroism and 'the bulldog spirit'.

Read my review

Source

We should really include the aftermath of the Second World War here.

Britain took a long time to recover.

This is a wonderful article by BrianS us telling about a tremendous book.

Click here for more

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Blitz video

It wasn't just London that suffered. This video shows what happened in the sleepy and somewhat genteel city of Bath. Bath had no military bases and no factories that were involved in war work, yet it - and countless other towns and cities - shared the same fate.

Further reading

Grandma's Wartime Kitchen: World War II and the Way We Cooked
Grandma's Wartime Kitchen: World War II and the Way We Cooked

Books like this are incredibly popular these days.

More and more of us are realizing that the diet in those days was actually very healthy. What's more, cooks were very inventive and incredibly frugal - every last scrap was used.

These are important factors for so many of us today.

 

© 2014 Jackie Jackson

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    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My husband has been talking a lot about World War II and especially about D-Day the last couple of weeks leading up to the anniversary. It's his favorite period in history and he knows a lot of facts about it. I'm sure he'd appreciate all the information you've compiled and the links here. Beautifully done!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I see a lot of articles I want to read. The 'Battle of Britain' was my hubby's all-time favorite movie and he also had an intense interest in the history of World War II, particularly in Britain where his ancestors came from. And I've always so admired Winston Churchill. I will be back to read more.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you so much, Susan!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Brilliant what you're doing with this as a series on Twitter!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SteveKaye: Thank you so much, Steve.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      American Heritage has (or had) a fantastic book about each World War.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      @BritFlorida: HA!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: I believe it was Churchill who, when visiting America and attending a dinner party, was asked which meat from a chicken he preferred. He said 'breast'. His hostess was shocked and said 'in America, we refer to it as white meat'. The following day he sent her a corsage saying that she was to pin it on her 'white meat'.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      LOVE Churchill's quote: "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Nancy Hardin: Thank you! I've read quite a lot about Churchill and he was certainly an admirable man.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Interesting information about the UK. I've always admired Churchill for his tenacity and courage in the face of what seemed to be insurmountable odds at the time. But he would not be broken and that, to me, seemed the most admirable of qualities a human being could possess. Well done!

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