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Overview

  • IMPORTANCE OF LOCATION

    An overview of Whitstable in WWII. Why it was involved. Why it suffered attacks. Why it escaped relatively lightly

Preparations

The Military

Air Raid Shelters

  • SHELTERS OVERVIEW

    Brian Smith outlines the government view, recommendations, options and popular choices of air raid shelter

  • COMMUNAL SHELTERS

    Provision of communal shelters for protection during air raids

  • PRIVATE SHELTERS

    Brian Smith's illustrated article describing air raid shelters for homes and gardens - the Anderson and Morrison shelters

  • CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES

    Brian Smith relates personal memories of shelters

Roles & Duty

  • ALLOCATION OF DUTIES

    Some of the roles of Whitstable people including reserved occupations, observer corps, ARP, fire watches, medics, fire brigade and the wheels of industry

Evacuations

The War Effort

Family Life

  • A 'ONE PARENT' NATION

    How families coped in the absence of "dad"

  • FINANCIAL PRESSURES

    How families overcame the financial hardships of wartime

  • RATIONING & DIET

    Brian Smith describes arrangements for rationing (including scans of coupons and books), the government's "British Restaurant"... and childhood methods of supplementing wartime diet!

  • 'MAKE DO'.. MEND... SHARE

    War brought out the worst of humanity.... but it also encouraged invention, recycling and an enhanced sense of community

  • GAS MASKS

    Discussing how people prepared... with gas masks

  • LIFE AT SCHOOL

    Stories of how schools continued against a background of war

  • PLAYGROUNDS & HOBBIES

    Kids continued to collect, observe, listen and investigate... but what they collected observed, listened to and investigated was often rather different from peacetime

  • MARRIAGE & STARTING A FAMILY

    Some decisions were made more difficult by war... and the celebration of happy events were sometimes restricted by wartime circumstance.

  • YOUTH & THE CURFEW

    John Harman reminds us of local curfews and how some young adults circumvented the restrictions!

  • THE FUNNY SIDE OF WAR

    Stories of humour amidst the horror of war

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Bomb Strikes

  • 'CONVENTIONAL' BOMBS

    Bomb strikes on Whitstable involving conventional bombers

  • THE OIL BOMB ATTACK?

    An attack on a military garage in Northwood Road that led to one of the most severe fires of wartime Whitstable

  • PARACHUTE MINES

    Some of the biggest explosions in Whitstable were delivered by parachute and arrived by accident rather than design. One devastated Victoria Street

  • V1 'DOODLEBUGS'

    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

  • V2 ROCKET

    Brian Smith describes the unstoppable and devastating V2 and we examine hits on Whitsable via anecdotes from our readers

  • INCENDIARY BOMBS

    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

  • EFFECTS OF BOMB BLAST

    The unpredictable nature of bomb blast and the strange effects and miraculous escapes that resulted

  • THE UXBS

    Unexploded bombs caused problems during wartime... and for many years therafter

  • SUMMARY OF STRIKES

    A table listing the locations of some of the known bomb strikes.

Fighter Attacks

  • STORY OF A DOGFIGHT

    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!

  • OBSERVED AIR ATTACKS

    Bomb attacks may have been impersonal but specific aircraft attacks could be different.... even in Whitstable

Downed Aircraft

Casualties

  • CASUALTIES & DAMAGE

    Brian Smith details Whitstable casualties and damage... and sets these in the context of a war ravaged county

Allied Ops

Dunkirk

  • FIVE DAYS AT DUNKIRK

    Sam Perks' teenage story of 5 days at Dunkirk... introduced and kindly made available by Sam's son, Richard Perks

Peace in Our Time

The Aftermath

  • LEGACIES OF WAR

    Some remnants of war continued for decades to come

  • RATIONING INTO THE FIFTIES

    Some food items remained rationed until 1954. Ian Johnson provides scans of a Whitstable ration book of 1952/53

Remembrance

Whitstabe at War - Cover Diagram

Whitstable in World War II

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....

 

The Flanders Poppy

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.