An overview of Whitstable in WWII. Why it was involved. Why it suffered attacks. Why it escaped relatively lightly
Some of the defence installations placed on Whitstable's waterfront
Link to our separate feature article on the famous Maunsell Forts of the Thames estuary
A mention of pillboxes and anti-tank traps
Memories of troops arriving, billets, military installations and training areas
Observor Corps, ARP and Home Guard
Brian Smith outlines the government view, recommendations, options and popular choices of air raid shelter
Provision of communal shelters for protection during air raids
Brian Smith's illustrated article describing air raid shelters for homes and gardens - the Anderson and Morrison shelters
Brian Smith relates personal memories of shelters
Some of the roles of Whitstable people including reserved occupations, observer corps, ARP, fire watches, medics, fire brigade and the wheels of industry
How evacuations affected Whitstable
Some of Whitstable's contributions to the war effort
How families coped in the absence of "dad"
How families overcame the financial hardships of wartime
Brian Smith describes arrangements for rationing (including scans of coupons and books), the government's "British Restaurant"... and childhood methods of supplementing wartime diet!
War brought out the worst of humanity.... but it also encouraged invention, recycling and an enhanced sense of community
Discussing how people prepared... with gas masks
Stories of how schools continued against a background of war
Kids continued to collect, observe, listen and investigate... but what they collected observed, listened to and investigated was often rather different from peacetime
Some decisions were made more difficult by war... and the celebration of happy events were sometimes restricted by wartime circumstance.
John Harman reminds us of local curfews and how some young adults circumvented the restrictions!
Stories of humour amidst the horror of war
Bomb strikes on Whitstable involving conventional bombers
An attack on a military garage in Northwood Road that led to one of the most severe fires of wartime Whitstable
Some of the biggest explosions in Whitstable were delivered by parachute and arrived by accident rather than design. One devastated Victoria Street
Brian Smith describes Hitler's "weapon of terror" and how it affected both our county and town. We also locate some of the V1 strikes on Whitstable
Brian Smith describes the unstoppable and devastating V2 and we examine hits on Whitsable via anecdotes from our readers
Description of incendiaries including method of delivery, impact and some of the defensive measures. Mark Foreman supplies a photo of a device that fell on Whitstable
The unpredictable nature of bomb blast and the strange effects and miraculous escapes that resulted
Unexploded bombs caused problems during wartime... and for many years therafter
A table listing the locations of some of the known bomb strikes.
Brian Smith's account of one particular battle over Seasalter. It was one in which we almost lost Brian amidst the gunfire.... at the age of just 4!
Bomb attacks may have been impersonal but specific aircraft attacks could be different.... even in Whitstable
The local resting places of some aircraft
Brian Smith details Whitstable casualties and damage... and sets these in the context of a war ravaged county
Training and offense operations as viewed in Whitstable
Sam Perks' teenage story of 5 days at Dunkirk... introduced and kindly made available by Sam's son, Richard Perks
Memories of VE Day
Some remnants of war continued for decades to come
Some food items remained rationed until 1954. Ian Johnson provides scans of a Whitstable ration book of 1952/53
The Cenotaph and final words
It is not our intention to provide a detailed history of World War II. We simply present anecdotes and stories contributed by our readers in order to paint a broad brush picture of Whitstable during the conflict. These can be accessed from the menu options provided.
However, we would also like readers to take a few moments to reflect on the tragic consequnces of war and to remember those men and women who made the utimate sacrifice for our freedom. For that reason, we preface our feature with Susan Brickland's lovely poem below....
by Susan Brickland
On November the eleventh,
Each and every year,
People stand in silence,
Some may shed a tear.
They're thinking of their loved ones,
And those they did not know,
Because they died to save our land,
In wars of long ago.
The soldiers were just young men,
They didn't want to go,
They didn't choose to fight and kill,
Pure courage they must show.
They fought to keep our freedom,
They really had no choice,
They had to save their families,
And guns must be their voice.
Our soldiers battled bravely,
They drove the foe away,
But many of them lost their lives,
To keep them all at bay.
And so we must remember,
Although so long ago.
Those brave young men who went to war,
To save us from our foe.
So many soldiers perished,
In poppy fields in France,
That now when we remember,
Using poppies is not chance.
Each poppy that we carry,
Is one young life that's lost,
It shows we don't forget them,
And are sad at what it cost.
© Susan Brickland
If you can supply additional information for inclusion in the "Whitstable at War" feature, we would love to hear from you. Email dave at... simplywhitstable.com.