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Birmingham at War 1939-45 (Paperback)

Military P&S History > Social History WWII World History > UK & Ireland > Towns & Cities in World War Two

By Julie Phillips
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Your Towns & Cities in World War Two
Pages: 209
Illustrations: 50
ISBN: 9781473866973
Published: 21st May 2018



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Barely 17 years after the Great War that had brought Britain to its knees, the country was once again asked to make sacrifices and give their all to the war effort. With its strong industrial background, Birmingham was already geared to help manufacture the vehicles that could be adapted for war use, and with the threat of the German Luftwaffe screaming across the skies, it was only right that the production of planes, most notably the spitfire, was ramped up to help protect the British public.

While many of its men and women were involved in the forces abroad, many more stayed behind to defend the city, with inhabitants risking their lives by taking up fire hoses, first aid kits, manning anti-aircraft guns and positioning barrage balloons in order to save others from the devastating destruction of the Blitz. Meanwhile, the city's children were separated from their families to escape the worst of the bombing and would return from their adventures changed: not all host evacuee families were as kind or as welcoming to their charges as it would appear.

Yet not everyone was so patriotic and keen to do their bit, and the opportunity for crime and to fiddle the rations with black market goods was rife. Not even Government issue equipment was off limits, as one Birmingham gang of sandbag thieves demonstrated.

For Birmingham, the Second World War was a time of great hardship and sacrifice and the hard work continued for many years after, as its people painstakingly rebuilt parts of the bomb-damaged city.

An exceedingly interesting book, full of facts, beautifully written and exceptionally informative.

Civil Defence Association

Well, where do you start with a subject as extensive as the experience of a city, and its people, during the Second World War? There are so many personal stories which could be told, and so many aspects of them to cover. So Telford historian and author Julie Phillips took on a real challenge in producing this book on Birmingham, part of a themed series by the publishers. And she's made a good fist of it, cramming in a lot of detail and memories.

Shropshire Star, 7th August 2018 - reviewed by John Mountford

Article: 'Author Julie's shock at city bomb damage'

Shropshire Star, 31st July 2018 - words by Toby Neal

About Julie Phillips

Julie Phillips has always been interested in the past; particularly people, places and how their environment, national policies and sociology affected everyday life. Her fourteen year career as a nurse also piqued her interest in nursing and the VAD involvement in the war. But it wasn’t until she read a 1918 postcard, and letter written by her husband’s Great Uncle Fred to his sister, Gertie, that she knew she had to discover more about the people who fought in the First World War and their families who stayed behind, fighting their own battles in their own way.

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