Women’s Home Defence, 1942

Chance to Learn to Shoot “No Drills, No Red Tape, No Uniform” The announcement that a unit of the Women’s Home Defence is being formed in Bromley has aroused considerable interest among women over a wide area. The Women’s Home Defence is a voluntary movement started by women, and is sponsored by Dr. Edith Summerskill, M.P.  The Bromley organiser is Miss R.G. Cottrell, 6 Orchard Road. Seen by a Kentish time reporter, Miss Cottrell said she had already received about a dozen letters and cards from women who wrote in…

True Tales from The Navy: 1941

The price of Admiralty By Commander A.B. Campbell, R.D., of the BBC “Brains Trust” Minesweeper making port – at dark – and they’ve had no sleep to speak of for four days.  A plane looms up – drops to 90ft, and lets go two bombs.  One hits the funnel.  The other explodes in the coal in the after hold,  Which seems lucky at the time, for the coal absorbs the worst of the blow – and Grimsby trawlers are made to take hard knocks. But the third bomb blows her…

Call out for local knitters to help with the war effort

It is amazing how history can repeat itself.  This article asking for knitters to help create woollen clothing for the Winter season in 1941 especially resonated with me as it reminded me of the recent plea for sewers across the country to help put together hospital scrubs for medical staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems we have always been a nation willing to help his fellow man in times of national need. This small article appeared in the local Bromley & District newspaper.  I wonder what the take up…

Coincidence of the timely message carved on Pumpkin

Famous K.C. And Pumpkin Coincidence Both Broadcast Same Message The unusual hobby of Mr. Sheridan Wood, of The Mount, Farningham, of growing giant pumpkins, upon which he inscribes timely messages, has had an interesting sequel this year. On Sunday evening some few months ago, Mr Norman Birkett, K.C., concluded a broadcast appeal on behalf of the Lord Mayor of London’s fund for Londoners whose homes had been destroyed by bombs with the following words:- “I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good thing, therefore, that I can do,…

End of a Giant: Death of the North Tower

On the 30th November 1936 a catastrophic fire took hold at the World famous Crystal Palace. Within hours, the Palace was destroyed. All that was left standing after were the two water towers. Their final fate came at the beginning of World War 2 amidst fears that they would serve as landmarks for German bombers on their way to bomb Central London.  The South Tower was taken down first; dismantled due to its close proximity to houses and shops, but the North Tower was demolished with explosions on the 16th…

Night’s Heavy Blitz – April 1941

This report describes the aftermath of a heavy night of bombing on the town of Bromley in Kent on 16th April 1941. Due to government censorship of newspapers at the time, no exact location is given, other than a South-East residential location, but we now know this location to be Bromley, St Peter’s and St Pauls’ as the parish church which was destroyed, and the furniture depository being Dunn’s of Bromley which was located on Market Square. Heavy Bombs and Incendiaries in a residential area. Churches raised to the ground…

Why Aren’t There More Trains?

Next time you are waiting for a train, and perhaps complaining about the lack of them, spare a thought for the commuters of the 1940s. At least British rail had a good reason – moving weapons to the theatres of war, as well as the war damage to the railways. The railway system suffered heavy damage in some areas due to German Luftwaffe bombing, especially in cities such as London and Coventry. It is estimated that 482 locomotives, 13,314 passenger and 16,132 freight vehicles were damaged during World War Two. Sources: Advert –…

Exciting Wartime Football Matches

In spite of the war, there was plenty of football to watch and teams to support. This report appeared in the local newspapers reporting on a match between Bromley Police and the  Royal Corps of Signals.     Football Bromley Police v Royal Corps of Signals With the score 5-2 in their favour ten minutes from the end, it looked as if Bromley Police were going to have a comfortable victory over a team drawn from the Royal Corps of Signals at The Warren on Saturday.  In those ten  minutes,…

What to Do Before Going into Your Shelter

Before, during and after the raid What to do before going into your Shelter – and the help that is ready if your home is hit. Before you leave the house, turn off all gas taps, including pilot jets, and turn off the gas at the main.  Leave buckets or cans of water and sand or earth on the front-door step, or just inside the door.  Put your stirrup pump, if you have one, where it can easily be seen,  Draw back curtains and raise blinds in upper rooms so…

London Carries on – Spirit of the People

This news report featured in the Bromley & District Times in mid-October 1940 and gives an insight into how life carried on as normal for the residents of London during the Blitz of 1940.   LONDON CARRIES ON 35-MILE TOUR AFTER THE BLITZKRIEG THE SPIRIT OF THE PEOPLE The early morning train was crowded, and subsequent stops, and we were soon speeding along side by side with other trains, equally crowded with men and women, boys and girls, all headed for London. Surely not for London after the Blitzkrieg visitations…