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.

The aftermath of an air raid.

London was bombed by the Nazis on the 29th of December, 1940. Now world-famous photographer Cecil Beaton took this image after the attack. The bell towers of St Paul’s Cathedral in the City can be seen in the background, showing how close the internationally-renowned building came to being destroyed.

Some of the most famous images of the Second World War (e.g.) involved the cathedral surviving Nazis bombs.

The Western Bell Towers of St Paul’s Cathedral After the Incendiary Raid of 29 December, London.

Cecil Beaton, 'The Western Bell Towers of St Paul's Cathedral After the Incendiary Raid of 29 December, London', 1940.