Odds n Sods

This n That


Having an awareness of British life during World War 2 will help you in your reenactment.

The Family

Families have always been complex, but in the early part of the 20th century it was traditional that the men went to work and the women stayed at home and looked after the children and the home. After war broke out and many of the men volunteered or were conscripted, so the women were needed as workers. For many women it was the first time they'd worked outside the family home. Women worked in shops and factories, in offices and on the land.

Children were evacuated from the big cities, to keep them safe from the threat of bombs. Being away from their mothers must have been a bewildering experience for the children. Some children had a fantastic time as evacuees, others not so good, it all depended on where they ended up and who they were with.

Personalities

There wasn't the Celebrity Culture in the 1940's that we have now, but there were many people who were in the spotlight.

The Royal family, of course

The King (Bertie) - many people would have had a picture of King George VI on their wall.
Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) was criticized for visiting families in hardship in her finery. She later said that if the public came to see her, they would be dressed in their best clothes, so she should reciprocate in kind. A strong character, she famously refused to evacuate from London, stating that "The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave."
The young princesses (Lillibet and Margaret Rose) were adored.

Politics

Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill - more to come

Music

Vera Lynn, The Andrews Sisters, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Gracie Fields, George Formby, all familiar names, and familiar songs we hear often at 1940's events!

Actors and Actresses - more to come

Secrecy

Of course, the exploits of the talented men and women in Bletchley Park and their intense efforts to help Britain win the war were unheard of. We now know what stirling work they did and the names of the talented individuals - Tommy Flowers, Joan Clarke, Bill Tutte, and of course Alan Turing, are names that are familiar to us now, and we can look up their names on the Internet - which wouldn't have existed if the early computers built at Bletchley Park hadn't been created.

There were other aspects of secrecy during wartime, the populous were made aware that anyone could be a spy, no matter how 'normal' they looked - so people were reminded to not gossip or spread rumours. Many posters were created, with slogans we remember to this day.

Be like Dad, keep Mum
Walls have ears
Careless talk costs lives


Health

Public health was also a matter of concern, as the NHS didn't exist at the time, and medicines were in short supply. Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases, Keep them in your Handkerchiefies!