Air Raid Precautions

The Phoney War

The period immediately following the outbreak of war is often called the "Phoney War" . The hordes of enemy bombers expected over Britain never materialised. It had always been a problem to attract sufficient volunteers into A.R.P. and as time wore on numbers began to fall as volunteers left through boredom, dissillusionment or because of jibes in the press and from the public.
During this period German aircraft were attacking shipping, bombing coastal towns and laying mines in the channel, and on 30 April 1940 England suffered its first civilian casualties when a German mine-laying bomber was shot down and crashed into the garden of a house at Clacton, Essex, killing 2 and injuring 160.
During June, July and August 1940, the bombs crept ever closer to London as the Germans had refrained from attacking civilian targets, concentrated upon the destruction of the Royal Air Force and their airfields in the south-east.
On the night of August 24, 1940, German bombers originally bound for the oil refineries at Thames Haven drifted off course and dropped their loads on central London. An escalation of the air war immediately set in on both sides. Winston Churchill ordered retaliatory attacks against Berlin, and the Germans responded by launching further raids on London and Liverpool.


Copyright 2002 Peter N. Risbey.