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  • Image of King George VI and Prime Minister, Cement Atlee

    The 1945 election was the first general election to be held in Britain since November 1935. It was held on 5 July 1945 with the result announced three weeks later on 26 July 1945 to allow the votes of those serving overseas to be counted. From May 1940...

  • Image of an Anderson shelter standing intact, surrounded by debris

    During the late 1930s, the British government began to prepare the civilian population for war. As well as the widely expected and feared bombing raids, it was also thought that poison gas might be used against civilians. Gas masks were issued in 1938...

  • Image of a painting of fires burning across the city of Bath

    In 1942, in retaliation for an RAF bombing raid on the German town of Lübeck, the Luftwaffe launched a series of destructive raids against historic towns and cities in Britain. These attacks were termed the 'Baedeker' raids after the famous German travel...

  • Image of a Hawker Hurricane

    The Battle of Britain was the decisive air campaign fought over southern England in the summer of 1940. The RAF won a famous victory over the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), which made an invasion of Britain all but impossible and boosted the morale of the...

  • Image of painting by Henry Carr depicting an incendiary air-raid with explosions

    When Britain went to war on 3 September 1939 there was none of the 'flag-waving patriotism' of August 1914. The British people were now resigned to the fact that Hitler had to be stopped by force. The first eight months of the war were a time of official...

  • Image of the hallways of the Cabinet War Rooms

    From 1939 to 1945, a group of basement offices in Whitehall served as the nerve centre of Britain’s war effort. Known as the Cabinet War Rooms, the complex was occupied by leading government ministers, military strategists and Prime Minister Winston...

  • Image of Boy Scouts, Cubs and Sea Scouts collecting waste paper for salvage

    The Second World War brought many changes to the lives of children in Britain. For some, the war was a time of fear and confusion that meant separation from families, the destruction of a home or even the loss of a parent. However, for others, these...

  • Image of painting by Charles Pears depicting the shelling of a British Convoy

    Britain depended on vital supplies of food, equipment and raw materials from overseas, notably from North America and the Empire. These goods were transported in thousands of merchant ships, which were vulnerable to attack by German submarines (U-boats...

  • Image of portrait painting of Lieutenant General Sir Alan Brooke

    Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke is seen by many historians as one of the key architects of Allied victory. He was Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) from 1941 to 1946 and Winston Churchill’s principal military adviser. Alan Brooke served as a Royal...

  • Image of Vera Lynn singing

    Entertainment during the Second World War provided civilians with a form of escape from the hardships of wartime life. It was equally important to those serving in the forces, both in Britain and overseas. Radio was the chief form of news and...

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