World War Two

Battle of Britain - World War 2

World War TwoWorld War 2 was declared on 3rd September, 1939.

At first after the declaration, very little appeared to happen although there were some casualties at sea. This period soon became known as the Phoney War. It lasted until the 10th May, 1940 and then the Germans began to move against the British Expeditionary Forces in France and Flanders. During the retreat, soldiers were often left behind; if they were lucky they were captured by the Germans; prisoners of war. Sometimes they were not so lucky.

By the 26th May, 1940 the British army (or those who had survived ) were corralled on the beaches at Dunkirk with all appearances of sitting ducks waiting for the attack from the German Army. However, for some reason, it did not occur and Hitler gave the job of attacking the British Army at Dunkirk to the Luftwaffe.

This gave just enough time to avert total disaster. Disaster was turned into a minor miracle by the rescue of 215,000 British and 123,000 French in British ships, small and large to England. In the weeks following the evacuation, the papers were full of news of soldiers missing and then found to be prisoners of war. The war was over for them.


Newspaper Extracts

Browse newspaper extracts:

LOCAL NEWS STORIESADVERTSHOME LIFETHE PEOPLEWAR WEAPONS WEEK

Caretaker needed for Smallpox Hospital – Job Advert, 1941

Looking for a job? Here’s a good one for a couple – but the remunerations is somewhat uneven but they do get accommodation (no children) and rations and washing. So maybe for the right couple it would be a good opportunity. West Kent Joint Hospital Board Caretakers of Smallpox Hospital ...
Read More

Sending Parcels to the Front Line

Right from the outset of the second world war, British railways were the mainstay of the internal transport system.  They were used extensively for transporting goods and war equipment, as well as troops and evacuated children.  Railways had proved harder to bomb and much easier to repair than alternative modes ...
Read More

Highest Scout Honour Given, 1941

The Silver Wolf scouting award is the highest award given out by The Scout Association.  It is an unrestricted gift of the Chief Scout and awarded "for services of the most exceptional character." The award itself consists of a Silver Wolf suspended from a dark green and yellow neck ribbon. During ...
Read More

Battle of the Atlantic

An example of how newspapers advertised the dramatics of the war to help sell newspapers. This advert for the News Chronicle newspaper appeared in the Bromley & District Times newspaper in March 1941. Battle of the Atlantic German U-Boats and Bombers V British Fleet, Convoy System, The Coastal Command and ...
Read More

Communal Kitchens coming to Beckenham – WW2

Communal kitchens were created in the 1940's, during the Second World War, to help people who had been either bombed out of their homes, run out of ration coupons or otherwise needed help.   These community feeding centres were named 'British Restaurants' by the, then, Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.   Set up ...
Read More

Refugee Wedding: Pittock-Buss to Gross

Geoffrey Pittock-Buss was born in Croydon in 1919, the son of civil servant James John Adam Pittock-Buss (1885–1962) and Marion May Battishall (1881–1961), who was a professional singer. He attended Whitgift School in South Croydon between 1931-35, before starting a career in journalism and publishing. He set up the New ...
Read More

Death of Sub-Lieutenant Stafford-Clark, 1940

Sub Lieutenant (A) John Stafford-Clark was the son of former Mayor of Bromley Francis Stafford-Clark (1929-1930). This notice of his death was published in the local newspaper in March 1941.He was part of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, H.M.S. Heron., based in Yoevilton in Somerset. He died on the 26th ...
Read More

The T.W.E.R.P.S.: Spring edition

The T.W.E.R.P.S. were a local amateur concert party. who were in much demand during World War 2 to entertain the troops and other service personnel. I am unsure at present what their initials stood for, so if anyone has any information about them which they can share, that would be ...
Read More

Denouncing the “Quislings’ of Europe

Quisling - a traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their country. The term ‘quisling’ originated in Norway in 1933. Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian military officer and politician who nominally headed the government of Norway during the occupation of the country by Nazi Germany during World War 2 ...
Read More

What do I do? – Ministry of Information Advice

The Ministry of Information (MOI), was a central government department created briefly at the end of the first world war, and again on the 4th September 1939, the day after Britain's declaration of war, with the first Minister sworn into Office on 5 September 1939. The Ministry's function was "To promote the ...
Read More

Caretaker needed for Smallpox Hospital – Job Advert, 1941

Looking for a job? Here’s a good one for a couple – but the remunerations is somewhat uneven but they do get accommodation (no children) and rations and washing. So maybe for the right couple it would be a good opportunity. West Kent Joint Hospital Board Caretakers of Smallpox Hospital ...
Read More

Sending Parcels to the Front Line

Right from the outset of the second world war, British railways were the mainstay of the internal transport system.  They were used extensively for transporting goods and war equipment, as well as troops and evacuated children.  Railways had proved harder to bomb and much easier to repair than alternative modes ...
Read More

Battle of the Atlantic

An example of how newspapers advertised the dramatics of the war to help sell newspapers. This advert for the News Chronicle newspaper appeared in the Bromley & District Times newspaper in March 1941. Battle of the Atlantic German U-Boats and Bombers V British Fleet, Convoy System, The Coastal Command and ...
Read More

What do I do? – Ministry of Information Advice

The Ministry of Information (MOI), was a central government department created briefly at the end of the first world war, and again on the 4th September 1939, the day after Britain's declaration of war, with the first Minister sworn into Office on 5 September 1939. The Ministry's function was "To promote the ...
Read More

Travel Advert: Grey-Green Coach

Grey-Green was a bus and coach operator based in Stamford Hill and operated in London and the East of England. The company was trace its origins back over a century to the foundation of George Ewer’s horse carriage business in 1885.  The business prospered, and summer-only services operated to many ...
Read More

Influenza – The Best Known Safeguard against Infection is Ovaltine

'Ovaltine' was developed in Switzerland by Dr. George Wander in 1865 where it is known by its original name Ovomaltine (from ovum, Latin for “egg”, and malt, originally its main ingredients.) In 1900 his son, Albert, took over the business and in 1909 brought it to England where he established ...
Read More

Bromley War Weapons Week

Before the US entered the war, and still with the threat of invasion, War Weapon Weeks was a way to encourage people to save in War Bonds and similar Government schemes to help re-arm. This advert was one of many which appeared in the local newspaper advertising a local 'War Weapons Week" February 15th - ...
Read More

Why Aren’t There More Trains?

Next time you are waiting for a train, and perhaps complaining about the lack of them, spare a thought for the commuters of the 1940s. At least British rail had a good reason – moving weapons to the theatres of war, as well as the war damage to the railways ...
Read More

Hot Water! What’s the Idea?

Keeping the soldiers going! This advert for OXO featured in the Bromley & District Times in February 1941, to no doubt encourage families to send stocks to the soldiers on the front line. Read more about the history of OXO in my previous blog >> How OXO Helped Strengthen the Home ...
Read More

Pet Food Adverts, 1941

In the Summer of 1939, before the outbreak of war, the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) was formed. This committee produced a pamphlet giving advice to pet owners stating: "If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency." It ...
Read More

Billy Brown’s Guide to London Transport

Here is another fine example of the Billy Brown character, invented by cartoonist David Langdon OBE, giving advice on using public transport in London. Published in the Bromley & District Times, 27th December 1940 Billy Brown of London Town The safest travelling in town Is not too good for Billy Brown. He's much too sensible and knowing To jump down off a bus that's going. Especially in blackout house Or when the kerb is wet with showers On these occasions ...
Read More

What to Do Before Going into Your Shelter

Before, during and after the raid What to do before going into your Shelter - and the help that is ready if your home is hit. Before you leave the house, turn off all gas taps, including pilot jets, and turn off the gas at the main.  Leave buckets or cans of water and sand or earth on the front-door step, or just inside the door.  Put your stirrup pump, if you have one, where it can easily be seen,  ...
Read More

Rationing Recipes – Cakes without Eggs

Rationing on food items such as eggs during World War II meant that a little imagination was needed in the kitchen when it came to producing sweet treats for the family.  During the war years, the Bromley & District Times was on hand to help home bakers with ideas to satisfy their sweet tooth. Cakes without Eggs Even the present egg shortage need not prevent the housewife from making her own cakes. Here are some suggestions for afternoon tea: - ...
Read More

Tea-Time Gossip

As written in the Bromley & District News on 27th September, 1940 (page 2) Under the Bed A near-by A.A. gun of terrific calibre has brought down a large piece out of one of our ceilings.  Someone said to me, "I do think they ought to warn us" I replied, "Don't be such a fool.  Do you expect them to knock on the door and say 'Please we are about to let off a gun,' as if they just wanted ...
Read More
Housekeeping during world war 2

Homekeeping in Wartime

This article featured in the Bromley & District Times in August 1940, providing advice to housewives to help the with the organisation of the kitchen and larder to cope with any eventuality in this current conflict. The wise housewife will already have laid in her emergency larder. Inspect the Home Larder and Kitchen Front The Kitchen Front will play an ever-increasing part in the present conflict, and the housewife has now an excellent chance to prove her organising ability and ...
Read More

Food Facts, August 1940

A regular feature in the local newspaper in the 1940's, here is another list of useful 'Food Facts' for readers to help encourage them to 'never waste anything'. The Ministry of Food was almost before its time, by offering more advise on the Wireless each morning - almost like a modern podcast! Every Time you cook you help or hinder Hitler! This advert appeared in the Bromley & District Times, 16th August 1940 (page 3) This Week's Food Facts Please ...
Read More

Lifebuoy Soap – Advert, 1940

Lifebuoy was introduced in England by Lever Brothers in 1895, and marketed as a soap that could be used in every part of the house, from the bathroom to the kitchen.  It was originally, and for much of its history, a carbolic soap, containing phenol (carbolic acid, a compound extracted from coal tar), but in later versions the phenol was removed Lifebuoy's popularity reached its peak between 1932 and 1948.  After World War Two, when more materials were available and rationing was ...
Read More

Grow Fit not Fat on your War Diet!

The Ministry of Food published some food facts in local newspapers during WW2 to encourage readers to 'Cut of "Extras", Cut out waste' and not oto eat more that needed. One interesting suggestion was cooked lettuce!  Never thought to try that. I doubt if I will resort to such a drastic method.  Perhaps food rationing might solve the obesity crisis today! Mind you it would have economic problems for the supermarkets etc that thrive through our love of food This advert appeared in ...
Read More
Making Ends Meet - August 1940

Making Ends Meet

This advert appeared in the Bromley & District Times on 9th August 1940 Think of Great Britain as one great factory.  Working at full pressure its output of goods can be vastly increased.  But from this entire output must come both the seeds of the fighting services and the requirements of the rest of us.  The Services must come first. The war must be won and in the shortest possible time.  This means - and we must face the hard ...
Read More

War-Time Sweet Treats – recipes

Housekeeping in War-Time When rations meant that sweet treats were few and far between, the local newspaper provided recipes with alternative ingredients. Here are two recipes which were printed in the Bromley and District in August 1940 - Do you dare try them?  If you do, please let us know how you get along. Sugarless Macaroons Coconut macaroons, beloved by so many adults as well as children can be made without sugar if you use sweetened condensed milk. You will ...
Read More

Oh for an electric dish-washer!

The first dishwasher was invented in the USA in 1857 by Josephine Cochrane (trust a woman to realise the value of such an invention). The first dishwasher in Europe was invented by Miele in 1929, but they did not become commercially popular in Britain until the 1950's and only for the wealthy at that time. Advert which appeared in the Bromley & Kentish Times, 12th July 1940, page 2 ...
Read More

Death of Sub-Lieutenant Stafford-Clark, 1940

Sub Lieutenant (A) John Stafford-Clark was the son of former Mayor of Bromley Francis Stafford-Clark (1929-1930). This notice of his death was published in the local newspaper in March 1941.He was part of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, H.M.S. Heron., based in Yoevilton in Somerset. He died on the 26th ...
Read More

Sergeant-Pilot Harold Ian Maxwell

We have with regret to record the death on active service of Sergeant-Pilot Harold Ian Maxwell, R.A.F., youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Maxwell, formerly of Firgarth, Edward Road, Bromley, and now of Newlands, Plaistow Lane. Friends and neighbours unite in offering heartfelt sympathy to them. Mr. Harold ...
Read More

King Commends Hayes Man, 1941

This article, which featured in the Bromley & District Times in late February 1941, actually followed directly on from my previous extract story regarding Mr W. T. Field of Bromley, and mentions the George Medal that he received. Whether his award was given to him for this same rescue, it does not ...
Read More

The Brothers Lee, 1941

Three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Lee. of 98 Bromley Common (Hook Farm) are serving in the forces. Private Cyril Lee (22), Oxford and Bucks Regiment was educated at Raglan Road School and afterwards employed as a porter at Bickley station,  His is now a prisoner of war in Germany ...
Read More

The Lock Brothers

Here the Bromley & District Times celebrated another band of brothers who served on the Front Line during WW2.  Their mother, already a widow, must have been beside herself with worry that she may lose them all to this awful war! Three members of the Lock family, late of Bickey, are now ...
Read More

Flight-Sergeant Charles Sydney

KILLED IN ACTION Flight-Sergeant C. Sydney. St Mary Cray. Flight-Sergeant Charles Sydney, aged 25 years, third son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Sydney, of Derry Downs, St. Mary Cray, was killed during a combat with the Germans on September 27. When a boy, Flight Sergeant Sydney went to St Mary ...
Read More

The Crisp Brothers

One family from Bromley, Kent saw three of their five sons on active services during World War 2.  This short article, printed in the Bromley & District Times newspaper on the 8th November 1940 (page 5), gives readers an update on their whereabouts. Articles like this are very useful to ...
Read More
Private Albert C.J. Boxall

Private Albert Boxall

Prisoner of War Mr  and Mrs A. Boxall, of 38 Holbrook Way, Bromley, have received recent news from their son, Albert Boxall, who had been a prisoner of war in Germany since May 1940, when he was captured on the Arras front. He was in the Territorial Army before the ...
Read More
Pilot Officer RA Marchand

Pilot Officer R.A. Marchand

The funeral of Pilot Officer Roy Achille Marchand, who was killed in action on September 15th, aged 22, took place at St Mark's Church, Bromley and afterwards at Bromley Hill Cemetery.  He was the only son of Mr And Mrs Rene A, Marchand, of 6 Hayes Road, Bromley, and his ...
Read More

Second Naval V.C. of the War Awarded to Bexley Heath Hero

Lieutenant Richard Been Stannard was born at Blyth, Northumberland. His father, Captain George Stannard, was lost with the Mount Oswald, an Allen liner, which he commanded when he was making a trip from Baltimore to England in 1912. He had 2 brothers in the Merchant Service and his sister married Mr ...
Read More
G Jones - Prisoner of War

Sapper R. G. Jones

As reported in the Bromley & District Times in 6th September 1940 Prisoner of War Mrs R. G, Jones of Maeberry, 10 Nichol Lane, Bromley, received a post-card from her husband on August 29, stating that he is a prisoner of war in Germany. Sapper Jones left England on May ...
Read More
Palin - Prisoner of War

Lance Corporal E. A. Palin

Reported in the Bromley & District Times, 6th September 1940. Prisoner of War Mrs G. L. Plain, 61 Newbury Road, Bromley, has received news from her husband, Lance Corporal E. A. Palin, who was reported missing on May 22, that he is a prisoner of war in Germany. Joining the ...
Read More

Second-Lieutenant Terence Thorpe-Woods

As reported in the Bromley & District Times on 6th September 1940, another soldier is reported as a Prisoner of War. Prisoner of War Second Lieutenant Terence Thorpe-Woods, son of Mr H. Thorpe-Woods of Quantocks, Willow Grove, Chislehurst, who has been missing in France since May 21, has now been ...
Read More

Private Edward F. Belsey

Reported in the Bromley & District Times on 6th September 1940 Prison of War: Edward F. Belsey, Bromley This week Mrs E. F. Belsey of Bromley has heard from her husband, Private Edward F. Belsey, R.A.M.C., that he is a prisoner of war.  Previously he had been reported as missing ...
Read More

Sec. Lieutenant Claudius C. G. Anderson

Reported in the Bromley & District Times on 6th September 1940 Prisoner of War: Second-Lieutenant C.C.G. Anderson, R.A. Mr and Mrs Anderson of Springfield, Derry Downs, St Mary Cray, have been informed that their son, Second-Lieutenant Claudius C. G. ("Grigor") Anderson, aged 23, who was reported missing in France, is ...
Read More

Sec. Lieutenant John B. Bassett

Reported in the Bromley & District Times newspaper on 6th September 1940 Prisoner of War: Second-Lieutenant John B. Bassett Mr and Mrs W.R. Bassett, 144 Murray Avenue, Bromley, have received a short message from their third son, Second Lieutenant John B. Bassett, R.A., in which he states that he is ...
Read More
Private Walter Waters

Private Walter Waters

Another of the men of the Royal West Kent Regiment reported missing is Prvate Walter Waters the son of Mr and Mrs J. Waters, 54 Victoria Road, Bromley Common, and husband of Mrs Waters, 26 Mosul Way. He was educated at Raglan Road School and later joined the Territorials.  He ...
Read More
Signaller Peter Robert Marchant - 1940

Signaller Peter Robert Marchant

Reported in the Bromley & District Times newspaper on the 19th July 1940 Missing Signaller Peter Robert Marchant of Bromley Mr and Mrs Robert Whittingham Marchant, of Brookmeade, Hayes ROad, Bromley have been officially notified that their eldest son, Signaller Peter Robert Marchant, is missing. He was on the staff ...
Read More
Private Henry R. Eldridge, 19th July 1940

Private Harry Robert Eldridge of St Mary Cray

Private Harry Robert Eldridge was reported as missing in the Bromley & District Times on 19th July 1940, however a search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission doesn't list him in their war dead. Private Harry Robert Eldridge of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, third son of Mr ...
Read More
Private P J Reynolds -19th July 1940

Private Patrick Joseph Reynolds, Bickley

Private Patrick Joseph Reynolds of the Royal West Kent Regiment, was reported as missing in the Bromley & District Times newspaper on the 19th July 1940.  He is commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission here >  where they report his death as being on the 23rd September 1941 (aged ...
Read More
Private W. Turrell - 19th July 1940

Private Frederick William Turrell , of St Marys Cray

Reported in the Bromley & District Times newspaper, 19th July 1940 Missing in Action Mrs Turrell, of 42 Bridge Road, St Mary Cray, has been informed by the War Office that her husband, Private Frederick William Turrell, of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, has been reported missing.  In ...
Read More

Private A C J Boxall – Missing

6345533 Private Albert Clarence John Boxall (aged 19) with the Royal West Kent Regiment was posted as missing on May 20th 1940. His parents were anxious for any news and “would be grateful to any of his comrades in the battalion who could give them any information about their son." ...
Read More

John Bond Bassett, 2nd Lieutenant

72521 2nd-Lieutenant John Bond Bassett , aged 28, was a printer by trade, the third son of Mr & Mrs W R Bassett of Murray Avenue, Bromley. “He was in the severe fighting following the German breakthrough and after the evacuation of Dunkirk it was believed that he had been ...
Read More

Biggin Hill helps support Orpington’s War Weapons Week

War Weapons Week Biggin Hill is making a strenuous effort to support Orpington War Weapons Week, March 22 - 29.  The local  War Savings Committee, under the direction of Mr F. W. Buck, the secretary, have taken a shop on ...
Read More

Orpington Passes their £100,000 War Weapons Week aim

Great Enthusiasm in town and villages Crowds watch mile-long parade of military and civil bodies Orpington District War Weapons Week, which was inaugurated on Saturday, and will be closed tomorrow (Saturday) evening has exceeded all expectations. The total amount invested ...
Read More

Who was Sir Tiffy Cate?

In 1941 a strange figure (or figures) were roaming around towns and cities across the country under the guise of "Sir Tiffy Cate", but who was this mystery man? In fact the answer is not sinister in the least, though ...
Read More

Orpington’s War Weapons Week – 1941

March 22-29 £100,000 is the Aim Attractive Programme being arranged The majority of the committees which will be responsible for organising the Orpington District War Weapons Week have now been formed and are busily engaged in their preparations. The aim ...
Read More

War Weapons Week Rivalry – 1941

On the first day of Bromley's War Weapons week, the borough had raised an impressive £202,434 towards the fund, and by the following Saturday they had doubled their figure.  However, not wanting to be outdone, their close neighbours, Beckenham, managed ...
Read More

War Weapons Rivalry – Who will win?

Will Beckenham Beat Bromley? The friendly rivalry between the neighbouring towns of Bromley and Beckenham will be seen in a new light during the coming weeks when Beckenham will endeavour to emulate Bromley's fine War Weapons Week total. An attractive ...
Read More

The Money Front: Bromley’s Great Push

Mounting Total in War Weapons Week HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR NEW ZEALAND Stimulating Address at inaugural luncheon Thousands of people watch Naval and Military Procession Bromley gave a most suspicious start to the War Weapons Week on Saturday.  Munificent subscriptions for ...
Read More

Beckenham’s War Weapons Week – Spring 1941

Our aim is £250,000 Says THE MAYOR Citizens of Beckenham: Our great War Weapons Week starts in just over a fortnight’s time. Between February 22nd and March 1st we are pledged to invest no less that £250,000 – a quarter ...
Read More

In War Weapons Week – 7th Feb 1941

SAVINGS CERTIFICATE FOR EVERY BABY BORN Mayor of losing Borough to pay Beckenham, whose War Weapons Week commences on Saturday February 22, has been set to invest £250,000, a total which should not be difficult to reach.During the week ending ...
Read More

Bromley War Weapons Week

Before the US entered the war, and still with the threat of invasion, War Weapon Weeks was a way to encourage people to save in War Bonds and similar Government schemes to help re-arm. This advert was one of many which appeared in the local ...
Read More
Share this: