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Air Raid Shelters of the Second World War (ePub)

Family Stories of Survival in the Blitz

Military Photographic eBooks WWII > The Blitz

By Stephen Wade
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 16.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781783461332
Published: 18th April 2011


£4.99 Print price £19.99

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This fascinating wartime social history accounts the establishment and use of Air Raid shelters in Britain during the Blitz of World War II.

Chapters cover the nature and locations of the raids, the diversity of shelters and the 'culture' and nostalgia of shelter life. The author looks at contemporary developments such as urban archeology, and collecting as well as the design of shelters including public shelters, and the Anderson air raid shelters in people gardens.

The book includes a wealth of material collected from people who experienced shelter life. Much of this material covers regional accounts of major wartime events and mainly looks at the following cities: London Sheffield, Hull, Liverpool, Plymouth and Coventry.

As well as first hand accounts the author uses many different primary sources to tell this history including memoirs, official publications and general historical works.

Stephen Wade is a military and crime history specialist. A writer-in-residence at several prisons, his recent books for Pen & Sword included DNA Investigations and Tracing Your Criminal Ancestors. He has also written about military intelligence in the Zulu War, Spies in the Empire and Queen Victoria's Spymaster.

Fascinating wartime social history. Well produced and presented.

Kent Family History Society Journal - Dec 2011

Fascinating, The book includes a wealth of material.

Loopholes - The Journal for the Pillbox Study Group - Nov 2011

Fascinating wartime social history. The book includes a wealth of material.


Brought together in a most enjoyable way.

The Bulletin - The Military Historical Society

These shelter experiences are a fascinating aspect of the war on the home front, one that perhaps tends to be forgotten against the larger backcloth of the conflict.

Shields Gazette - June 2011

Air raid shelters were second homes for families during the Second World War. Wade examines stories from the shelters from first-hand accounts and interviews, and explains the variety used all over Britain - from the humble Anderson to the cupboard under the stairs. An unusual perspective on wartime life.

Family History Monthly

This book is ideal for those with an attraction to Britain’s social past, and I would even venture as far as to say perfect for those with an interest in the Home Front during the Second World War.
Stephen Wade has not only managed to write about every conceivable angle to shelters but also with a modern day impact as schools teach pupils and urbexing (urban exploring) becomes a new way to discover history on our own doorstep.
But the real gems woven within the pages of this book are the experiences of the occupants of these sanctuaries. You get a feel as to what it was like to spar elbows in a claustrophobic public shelter or to rush half asleep into waterlogged and musty back garden Andersons in the middle of a winter’s night.
This book doesn’t just concentrate on London’s nightly terrors but also on other parts of Britain as it too faced a trial of high explosive and incendiaries. The duties of the ARP, Heavy Rescue squads and Red Cross among many others are recounted here, as well as even the Boys Scouts as they try to assemble Morrison shelters in people’s small front rooms.
Some of the most fascinating accounts for me are during Hitler’s last gasp vengeance weapon attacks. The thought of diving for cover as the pulse engine on a V-1 cuts out and plunges to earth can’t help but to make you realise the helplessness of indiscriminate bombing. Although this is a book about shelters they couldn’t be utilised fully as the V-2 landed with no warning.
It’s nice to see a book of this nature not only carry stories of strength amongst loss and destruction but also with touches of humour. There are some nice photos spread throughout the pages to add to a picture within the imagination.
Well worth a read, if not just to look into the door ajar of history but to how easy life now is without the threat of death from above at any second.

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 Stephen Wade

About Stephen Wade

Stephen Wade is a freelance writer specializing in the history of crime and the law in Britain and Ireland. He has written fourteen true crime and crime history books, including Tracing Your Police Ancestors and Tracing Your Criminal Ancestors. His history of detectives, Plain Clothes and Sleuths, was published in 2007 and he is currently completing a history of the City of London Police. He also teaches crime history at the University of Hull and, as a visiting lecturer, at Oxford. He has contributed to Family Tree Magazine, Ancestors and other periodicals.

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