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.
The Command operated over the skies of the United Kingdom until February of 1945.
Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial can be seen.
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 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 English city of Coventry suffered numerous Nazi bombing attacks in the blitz of 1940, but the worst came in November.
The city was bombarded from the 14th to the 15th, killing hundreds of people and injuring many hundreds more.
These photographs were taken on the 16th, showing many buildings ruined, and the recently built Owen Owen department store – the exterior still stands, but the inside was destroyed.
Coventry Cathedral was largely ruined, and still stands as a shell today. The new cathedral was built next door, and opened in 1962.
Hundreds more people were killed in German bombings the following year.
A wrecked bus is photographed amongst the destruction in Coventry, England after a German Luftwaffe air raid on the night of 14-15 November, 1940.
Coventry suffered heavy damage in the Second World War. The city’s famous cathedral was one of the casualties of the “Coventry Blitz”, which killed many hundreds and left thousands without homes.
Oxford Street, London’s famous shopping boulevard, suffered heavy damage from German bombing during the Second World War.
On the night of 17-18 September, 1940, some of London’s best-known establishments were hit.
The British Army cleans up after an air raid on Birkenhead, England in this photograph dated the 15th of March, 1941.
The Blitz, Germany’s bombing offensive against the United Kingdom, ran from September 1940 to May 1941, and attacked London as well as the UK’s major ports and industrial cities.
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.
Belfast was heavily bombed by the Nazis in April and May of 1941, with some 900 people dying.
There were fears of animals at the zoo escaping and stampeding, so orders were given to shoot some of them.
A woman named Denise Weston Austin, one of the zoo’s first female zookeepers, decided to save a baby elephant named Sheila.
Because she had high walls around the back of her house, she knew she could hide the animal at night.
Every night after the zoo closed, she sneaked the elephant home on foot, and then returned her in the morning.
Sheila survived the war, but died in 1966.
Austin died in 1997, but the identity of the “Elephant Angel” was not discovered until 2009, when a public appeal was launched to find her.