By Tom Dare
INCREDIBLE COLOURISED FOOTAGE showing London and Londoners during the Blitz has remerged today, giving us an insight into the scale of the damage caused by Germany’s bombing raids over Britain.
Footage shows a desolate-looking London the day after one of the many raids, with the shells of buildings visible as the city’s famous double-decker red buses go about their business as usual on the roads.
Further footage shows a sign outside the London branch of John Lewis telling customers that the store remains open, while a photo from the period featured in Michael Carroll’s new book ‘Retrographic: History in Colour’ shows three young blind children cowering in an air raid shelter as the bombs come crashing down overhead.
The Blitz remains one of the most testing periods in Britain’s history, with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler convinced that the British people could be pummelled into submission by sustained air raids.
Airfields, industrial areas and factories and civilian populations were ruthlessly targeted by the Nazis, and from September 7 1940 London was mercilessly bombed by the Luftwaffe on 56 out of 57 days.
And it’s a period in its history that Michael Carroll says Britain will never forget:
“For any person living in wartime Britain, man or woman, young or old, the continuous bombing by the German air force, the Luftwaffe, was terrifying,” he says.
“From the time this haunting image was taken, September 1940, to May 1941, the British capital, London was targeted as a key population and industrial centre.
“The London Blitz killed twenty thousand people, with fifty-seven consecutive days of bombing, fifty thousand tonnes of high-explosive bombs dropped and one hundred and ten tonnes of incendiary bombs, destroying nineteen churches, two hundred and fifty thousand homes, damaging Westminster Abby, and Lambeth Palace.
“Each night one hundred and fifty thousand people were forced to sleep in London Underground platforms and tunnels.
“The “Blitz Spirit” is a famous phrase used to describe the stoic, almost cheerful attitude by which Londoners and other British city-dwellers coped with the threat of death and destruction from above. It was anticipated by the “German High Command that its bombing raids would completely terrorise the civilian population, and break the wartime morale of the entire nation.
“Remarkably, the spirit of the British people held up; workers carried on with their tasks during the day, and fulfilled their voluntary roles in protecting their cities by night.”
Colourised pictures such as these are featured in author Michael D. Carroll’s new photo-book Retrographic, which is available to buy from Amazon for £16.85.
For more information, visit: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retrographic-Historys-Exciting-Images-Transformed/dp/1908211504