Bombed London Under Snow

January 1942: London stands in ruins and covered in snow after German bombing in the Second World War. A crane and truck can be seen clearing debris.

St Paul’s Cathedral – which survived the Blitz – is in the background.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museums.

bombed-london-in-the-snowThe destruction around St Paul's Cathedral air raid on London is softened by a heavy dusting of snow. mobile crane and truck can be seen work to clear up some of

On this day: Australians off to War

Signallers from the Australian 2-15th Infantry Battalion at Pyrmont, Sydney, just before embarkation for the Middle East, 28th December 1940(AWM_photo_005560) Second World War Two

28th December 1940: Members of the Australian 2/15th Infantry Battalion wait to board the troop transport the Queen Mary at Pyrmont in Sydney. They were about to leave to fight in the Middle East.

Second World War.

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

On this day: Australians off to War

Crowds_gather_to_watch_the_Air_Force_Parade_in_Queen_Street_Brisbane,_Australia December_1940_(14148815259)8 December 1940 Second World War Two

Nearly one in ten of the personnel serving under Britain’s Royal Air Force command in the Second World War were from the Royal Australian Air Force.

On this day: Attack on Pearl Harbor

US Marines are seen here taking up positions near the unfinished swimming pool during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the 7th of December, 1941.

The attack finally succeeded in drawing the United States into the Second World War.

On this day: the face of battle

A_British_infantry_sergeant_Second World War Two Black and White 1940s Vintage_BU1434The face of battle an infantry sergeant during the advance into Germany near Geilenkirchen, 5 Decembe

5th December 1944: Named by the Imperial War Museum the face of battle, this photograph is of a British infantry sergeant advancing into Geilenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany – on the border with the Netherlands.

The month before, this was the site of Operation Clipper, which saw an Allied victory over the Nazis.

Memorial to the Great Purge

KurapatyforestgravesnearMinsk,Belarus_%2Today is Dziady in Belarus, which is both a Slavic feast day and the day Belarusians commemorate hundreds of thousands killed in St

(Repost from two years ago.)

Today is Dziady in Belarus, which is both a Slavic feast day and the day Belarusians commemorate hundreds of thousands killed in Stalin’s Great Purge during Soviet control of the nation.

Not long before the collapse of the Soviet Union, historian Zianon Pazniak revealed the extent of the executions in the Kurapaty forest near the capital city, Minsk.

At least 30 000 people were killed in Kurapaty between 1937 and 1941, but some estimates put the number as high as 250 000.

People who attended the first commemoration – in 1988 – were attacked by the police, and to this day Kurapaty is not publicly mentioned by the pro-Russian government (run since the 1990s by dictator Alexander Lukashenko).

Pazniak fled the country in 1996 and was granted political asylum in the United States.

On this day: the RAF Balloon Command was Formed

The RAF Balloon Command was formed in Britain on the 1st of November, 1938. The organisation was formed in anticipation of German air raids if war broke out.

The Command operated over the skies of the United Kingdom until February of 1945.

Balloons over London during the war.

Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial can be seen.

Barrage_balloons_over_London_during_World_War_IIPhotograph of Barrage balloons over London during World War II. Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial can be seen in the middle ground.

On this day: a Halloween joke in World War Two

A 'Vampire' sign outside an Army Blood Transfusion Service advanced blood bank in the Western Desert, 29 October 1942

Two days before Halloween in 1942, a humorous vampire sign stands outside the British Army blood transfusion centre in the Western Desert of North Africa (regions in Egypt and Libya). Second World War.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museum.

On this day: a War Child in London

On this day: a War Child in London

This now-famous photograph, taken by Cecil Beaton, appeared on the cover of American LIFE Magazine on the 23rd of September, 1943. It shows Eileen Dunne, aged “3 and 3/4” sitting in her hospital bed in London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children after being injured in a German air raid.

 

The LIFE cover.

The cover feature was significant, as it encouraged Americans – still more than a year out from joining the Second World War – to take more of an interest in the conflict.

The original caption for the photograph reads:

The wide-eyed young lady on the cover is Eileen Dunne, aged 3 3/4. A German bomber whose crew had never met her dropped a bomb on a North England village. A splinter from it hit Eileen. She is sitting in the hospital. A plucky chorus of wounded children had just finished singing in the North English dialect, “Roon, Rabbit, Roon.” The picture was taken by Cecil Beaton, the English photographer who generally specializes in fashionable or surrealist studies of society women.