IWM Staff
Friday 5 January 2018
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1. A Raid From Above

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1. A Raid From Above

Two German bombers fly over south-east London on the first day of the Blitz, 7 September 1940.

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2. St Paul's Cathedral, London

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2. St Paul's Cathedral, London

St Paul's Cathedral seen through smoke caused by a bombing raid on London in December 1940.

Standing out of the flames and smoke of surrounding blazing buildings, St Paul's Cathedral during the great fire raid in London.
© IWM (HU 36220)
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3. Fires In Manchester

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3. Fires In Manchester

Buildings in Manchester burn after an air raid on the night of 23 December 1940.

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4.Taking Shelter

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4.Taking Shelter

A woman sleeps on a bed made on top of a row of barrels in the cellar of a wine merchant's in East London in 1940.

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5. Damage in South London

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5. Damage in South London

A bus lies in a crater in Balham, south London, after a bombing raid.

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6. Broadgate, Central Coventry

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6. Broadgate, Central Coventry

Bomb damage in the centre of Coventry after the devastating German air raid on the night of 14 November 1940.

Bomb damage in Broadgate, central Coventry, the morning after the German air raid on the night of 14 November 1940.
Bomb damage in the centre of Coventry, following the German air raid on the night of 14 November 1940.
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7. Sheltering In The Tube

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7. Sheltering In The Tube

Civilians take shelter in Elephant and Castle Underground Station in south London during an air raid in November 1940.

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8. Queen's Road, Birmingham

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8. Queen's Road, Birmingham

One badly damaged house still stands amidst the piles of timber and rubble following an air raid on Queen's Road, Aston, Birmingham, on 11 December 1940.

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9. Passing Time In An Air Raid Shelter

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9. Passing Time In An Air Raid Shelter

Local boys play a game of cards in an air raid shelter in south-east London in November 1940.

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10. Clearing Damage in Hull

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10. Clearing Damage in Hull

Troops of 9th Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment, clear bomb damage in Hull sustained during the Blitz.

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11. Mannequins Outside John Lewis, London

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11. Mannequins Outside John Lewis, London

Mannequins litter the pavement outside the John Lewis department store on London’s Oxford Street after an air raid in September 1940.

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12. Refreshments In An Air Raid Shelter

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12. Refreshments In An Air Raid Shelter

Volunteers prepare to distribute tea to people taking shelter in North London.

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13. Coventry Cathedral

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13. Coventry Cathedral

The ruins of Coventry Cathedral two days after the air raid on the city in November 1940.

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14. A Makeshift Bed

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14. A Makeshift Bed

A man sleeping in a stone sarcophagus in an East London church in November 1940.

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15. Life Goes On In London

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15. Life Goes On In London

A young boy places a Union flag into the remains of his home, which was destroyed in an air raid on London in 1940.

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© IWM (H 6324)
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In late autumn 1940, the Blitz spread beyond London to Britain's other major towns and cities. Many were the locations of major war industries. However, it was often their compact commercial centres and residential areas that were most badly affected by air raids.
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© IWM (H 5603)
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The 'Blitz' – from the German term Blitzkrieg ('lightning war') – was the sustained campaign of aerial bombing attacks on British towns and cities carried out by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) from September 1940 until May 1941.
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Liverpool experienced its first air raid in August 1940 and was targeted regularly through the autumn of 1940 with 15 raids in September and nine in October. The first major raid came on 28 November when it was hit by 350 tons of high explosive bombs, 30 land mines and 3,000 incendiaries.