Voices From the Blitz – Part 3

Part 2  Part 3

+
Three-quarter front nearside view of Manchester Corporation Leyland bus, fleet no 3235, reg no VR5755, which took part in the 1946 Victory Parade. The protective netting on the windows was added after the vehicle was transferred to London in 1940/41; by then the worst of the Blitz was over! Photographed by Topical Press, 7 Jun 1946

During the Blitz on London, drivers of city’s famous double decker red buses were given the authority to decide whether to stop and evacuate their vehicles during a bombing raid or keep going. (The buses had been painted over with a much darker color so weren’t actually painted red during the war.)

Because London was and remains such a huge city, one part could be under major attack while other parts were not being bombed at all. In an area not being bombed but close to a battery of anti-aircraft guns, the biggest danger was from falling shrapnel. These steel shards falling from the sky, the result of the anti-aircraft shells exploding at a fixed height, killed people on the ground all the time.

There are many stories of people rushing to get to their homes during a raid and through billows of smoke coming from the parts of the city being bombed, a London Transport bus would emerge on its regular route. It would stop and the people would get on as if nothing out of the ordinary was going on. Of course, diaries and memoirs from the time disclose that everyone was terrified, but the ethos of the time was not to show fear since everyone knew everyone else was afraid.

[Image courtesy of London Transport Museum.]

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

One thought on “Voices From the Blitz – Part 3”

Leave a Reply