The Battle of Britain and the Blitz

�Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Commonwealth and its Empire last for a thousand years, men will say, �This was their finest hour.��

Winston Churchill, Speech in Parliament, 18 June 2023

�The doodlebugs were pretty frightening, but the V-2s were terrifying. And I don�t know whether we were tired by then, or what it was, but a lot of people would admit to that � that we were much more scared then than when the bombs were raining down on us during the Blitz. I think we were tired. I was only longing for the end by then.�

Myrtle Solomon, A young Civil Servant, 1945

By June 1940 the bulk of Britain�s shattered army had been rescued from Dunkirk, and her most powerful European ally, France, had surrended to Nazi Germany. Elsewhere, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Poland and Czechoslavakia had all succumbed to Hitler�s forces, and Italy had joined the war on Germany�s side. Britain faced the enemy across the English Channel with an anxious sense that very little kept her from being subjugated by the overwhelming might of the Nazi forces.

What rescued the country was the Royal Air Force�s triumph in the Battle of Britain, and the courage and endurance of the people who lived, worked and suffered under the Luftwaffe�s Blitz, which, almost nightly from September 1940 to May 1941, rained destruction upon London and other major cities; and which came again later in raids by aircraft, V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets. Using eyewitness accounts, �The Battle of Britain and the Blitz� relives those desperate times in the words of pilots, ground crew and other airmen and airwomen, firefighters, air-raid wardens, radar operators, spotters, anti-aircraft gunners, members of the Home Guard, the WVS and other voluntary workers, land girls, evacuees, and civilians � old and young, male and female � who between them helped to ensure that Britain survived to fight another day and, ultimately, to win.

Told in the words of the men and the women who took part in these historic events, the book is accompanied by an unique, 1-hour audio CD featuring, in their own words and voices, the actual reminiscences of many of these eyewitnesses, taken from the magnificent sound Archive of Britain�s national museum of conflict, the Imperial War Museum. The CDs, which contain material not found in the book, are further enhanced by the use of actual recordings of aircraft engines, gunfire and other sound effects, as well as songs from the period. The result is a remarkable work that brings vividly to life the months that saw `Britain defined for all time as a country whose people�s spirit was, literally, unbreakable.