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Description of being bombed out

A woman describes her experience of being bombed by a direct hit

More than 2,000,000 homes were destroyed in Britain by enemy bombs - about 60% of them in London. A great many more were severely damaged. 1,400,000 Londoners were bombed out of their homes between September 1940 and May 1941. It meant that many families that survived the bombardment were faced with the tragedy of homelessness...and Britain was not prepared for homelessness on such a scale.

State assistance was inadequate and emergency centres set up to deal with the problem could not cope. Many families had to rely on relatives and friends. The job of repairing buildings during the War was hampered because many craftsmen and labourers had joined the Armed Services.

Temporary dwellings - often little more than huts - began to spring up in bomb-damaged areas. In some of the worst affected areas - for example, the East End of London - families were still living in pre-fabricated bungalows long after the War had ended.

TRANSCRIPT:

The first thing I knew was...dust started to fall on me. The floor gave way...and I immediately realised what was happening. The roof came down...I covered my head with my hands...and wondered - frankly - whether this was the end.

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22 seconds

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