Having an awareness of British life during World War 2 will help
you in your reenactment.
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.
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
The young princesses (Lillibet and Margaret Rose) were adored.
Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill - more
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
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
Be like Dad, keep Mum
Walls have ears
Careless talk costs lives
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!