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City of London at War 1939–45 (ePub)

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

By Stephen Wynn
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Your Towns & Cities in World War Two
File Size: 9.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 169
ISBN: 9781526708328
Published: 11th March 2020


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The City of London was always going to be an obvious target for German bombers during the Second World War. What better way for Nazi Germany to spread fear and panic amongst the British people than by attacking their capital city?Although not vastly populated in the same way that a bigger city or larger town would be, there were still enough people working there during the day for attacks on it to take their toll. The city’s ancient and iconic buildings also bore the brunt of the German bombs, including churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire in 1666.

The book looks at the effects of war on the City of London, including the damage caused by the 8 months of the Blitz between September 1940 and May 1941. The most devastating of the raids took place on 29 December 1940, with both incendiary and explosive bombs causing a firestorm so intense it was known as the Second Great Fire of London.

It also looks at the bravery of the staff at St Bart's Hospital, which was one of the medical facilities that remained open during the course of the war. Other stories include the sterling work carried out by the City’s civilian population and the different voluntary roles that they performed to help keep the city safe, including the Home Guard and the Fire Watchers, who spent their nights on the city’s rooftops looking out for incendiary devices dropped by the German Luftwaffe.

Despite the damage to its buildings and its population, by the end of the war the City of London was able to rise, like a phoenix, from the flames of destruction, ready to become the vibrant and flourishing borough that it is today.

For anyone who has worked in the City will I am sure find this interesting, as so many of the places it includes are world famous and to see how the people who had to live through it coped with life during those years of war, the ARP wardens, the Fire Watchers and more. It also records the memory of the many civilians and service personnel who lost their lives during the war, either in the city or while abroad on active service. An interesting read even if you have never lived or worked in this famous City.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

The book, like all those in the series, is a small mine of information about people and events, and Stephen Wynn gives us another great volume for the series "Your Towns & Cities in World War Two".

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

The very popular “Your Towns & Cities At War” series is building a unique collection of volumes providing a detailed local view of all parts of the British Isles during WWII. This new book provides the story of the City of London during WWII, the most bombed city and the first city to be attacked by cruise and ballistic missiles – Very Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


New book tells of courage amid carnage in the Square Mile

Click here to read the full review article

allaboutshipping.co.uk, 9th April 2020 - words by James Brewer

This is another book from my favourite series published by Pen and Sword Books, mainly because I love local history and we always learn lots of local aspects of life from around the country in these books in this series. The City of London book is one that I really looked forward to reading as obviously the war affected London the most during WW2.

This book focuses a lot on the buildings and infrastructure in the City of London and how the war affected the area. The City of London is not a large area generally, but the impact of the War had a huge effect not only on the physical places but also the people. Like the other books in the series the book works through the chapters year by year in which we learn a lot of local history and aspects of life then.

In this book near the back is also a chapter on St Bart’s hospital, the Tower of London, London regiments and a page of sources. This is a very good book indeed and a pleasure to read as it is very well researched and written by the author Stephen Wynn, I book I most definitely recommend to others.

UK Historian

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author's writing was so vivid that it was easy to picture what life was like in London during the war. The bravery of the staff at St. Bart's is something that I had never heard of before reading this book. To stay open to help those that need it as bombs are being dropped on the city is truly heroic. I definitely recommend this one.

NetGalley, Cristie Underwood

This book is an interesting resource which should appeal to the general reader.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful read I’ve always been fascinated by that time in history. Reading about the people their daily lives during WW2 so well written so informative really enjoyed the glimpse at their world their time.

NetGalley, Abby Siverman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book. Great to read true stories of WWII well written. Author tells of the life of the people living through the bombing of London.

NetGalley, Victoria Watson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoy the books in this series and this one was a pleasure to read, as I have said in previous reviews for books in the series, the photographs and the captions that illustrate the series are what makes the books in the series so special to read for me.

This book focuses a lot on the buildings and infrastructure and how this was impacted. The City of London is not a large area generally, and it is known as the Square Mile, but the impact of the War was great. The book highlights too those that lost their lives that had links to the area to really bring home how the War affected those in the City boundary.

I love the insight that is given to the social history of the time too that enables the reader to step back in time and experience what it would have been like during this period - the book was well researched and well written and I found it to be an easy read – the author clearly knows his topic and that shines through as you read it.

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

London was certainly going to be a target for the German Luftwaffe. The book documents the results of the German air raids. Lists of casualties are given for some of the more devastating attacks. There is particular focus to the eight months of Blitz between September 1940 and May 1941. Stories of individuals who survived the bombings are told.

I enjoyed the 2.5+ hours I spent reading this 224-page history. I did enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations of Londoners.

NetGalley, John Purvis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An interesting read, well researched and well written.
I liked how the book is organised and the style of writing. It's an excellent history book and I highly recommend it.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

This is a comprehensive look at the people and buildings in just the "City of London" during the war years... There are lots of lists and a comprehensive detailing of what certain people were doing or where they died.

NetGalley, Maureen Carney

About Stephen Wynn

Stephen is a retired police officer having served with Essex Police as a constable for thirty years between 1983 and 2013. He is married to Tanya and has two sons, Luke and Ross, and a daughter, Aimee. Both Stephen’s grandfathers served in and survived the First World War, one with the Royal Irish Rifles, the other in the Mercantile Marine, whilst his father was a member of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during the Second World War.
When not writing Stephen can be found walking his dogs with his wife, Tanya, at some unearthly time of the morning when most normal people are still fast asleep.

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