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Richard Dimbleby TV - London Can Take It, short 1940 - Target for Tonight, short 1941 - Listen to Britain, short 1942 - Rob Bell TV - The Blitz: Britain on Fire TV - Secret History TV - Hitler: Could He Have Been Stopped? TV - Apocalypse: Hitler Takes on the East TV - History's Greatest Mysteries TV -

 

 

 

I wish with all my heart that everyone fighting in this war could have come with me through the barbed wire fence that leads to the inner compound of the camp.  Beyond the barrier was a whirling cloud of dust  the dust of thousands of slowly moving people and with the dust was a smell sickly and thick, the smell of death and decay of corruption and filth.  I passed through the barrier and found myself in the world of a nightmare.  Richard Dimbleby, report BBC 19th April 1945

 

 

I’m speaking from London.  It is late afternoon and the people of London are preparing for the night.  Everyone is anxious to get home before darkness falls, before our nightly visitors arrive.  London Can Take It ***** short 1940

 

We haven’t had a quiet night now for more than five weeks.  ibid.

 

The nightly siege of London has begun.  The city is dressed for battle.  Here they come.  ibid.  

 

They are fused together not by fear but by a surging spirit of courage the like of which the world has never known.  ibid.  

 

 

This is the authentic story of a bombing raid on Germany, how it is planned and how it is executed.  Target for Tonight, caption, short 1941

 

‘Certainly is a peach of a target, isn’t it, sir.’  ibid.  Bomber Command  

 

 

Blended together in one great symphony is the music of Britain at war: the evening hymn of the lark, the roar of Spitfires, the dancers in the great ballroom at Blackpool, the clank of machinery, and shunting trains …  Listen to Britain, short 1942

 

 

A journey to investigate the incredible structures that have stood the test of time and their ground during what was to become a global war.  Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler I: We Shall Fight on the Beaches, Yesterday 2020

 

Construction began on an epic project transforming this green and pleasant land into an impregnable island fortress. ibid. 

 

Thousands of seemingly random structures still litter our countryside.  In many cases they are just blocks of concrete … But if you know what you’re looking at, behind these remnants of bricks and mortar there’s a much darker story to be told.  ibid.

 

I’m on the south coast to seek out the buildings on and around our beaches.  ibid.  

 

Braced for a German onslaught, Britain raced to defend the parts closest to the enemy.  They filled the English Channel with a network of mines.  ibid.

 

Essex Mine Control Tower: 360-degree defensive capability with firing slots for seventeen machine guns.  ibid.

 

Over 100 emergency gun batteries were built along Britain’s coastline.  ibid.

 

Many of the south coast’s existing historic bases were pushed back into service.  ibid.

 

These fortified constructions gave the soldiers shelter and protection to stand their ground.  ibid.                     

 

 

Construction began on an epic project transforming this green and pleasant land into an impregnable island fortress.   Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler II: We Shall Fight Them in the Streets

 

I’m in the south of England home to the town and city buildings that stood right in the line of fire.  ibid.

 

A vast network made up of pillboxes, trenches, barbed wire, to prevent the Germans from spreading out and roaring across the country.  ibid.

 

The war rooms became fully operational on 27th August 1939.  ibid.

 

 

 

What if these defences had failed?  What was the plan if the fighting on the beaches was lost and the battle moved on to the fields and hedgerows?  Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler III: We Shall Fight Them in the Fields

 

Engineers and military strategists quickly drew up plans for around 50 static fortified stop lines.  ibid.  

 

 

Winston Churchill may have been confident that Britain could win the war, but to do so they had to be a nationwide effort to build robust military strongholds and incredible tactical structures.  By keeping the fight away from our shores and instead looking to the skies.  Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler IV: We Shall Fight Them in the Air           

 

Our army battered after the beaches of Dunkirk, the only way of keeping the enemy away was the air force.  ibid.  

 

Radar stations were now coming into range of enemy aircraft.  ibid.

 

‘About 100,000 women served in the WRAF.’  ibid.

 

The Observer Corps ran for 70 years until 1995.  ibid.  

 

 

Difficult decisions had to be made about what we’d do in the event of defeat.  Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler V: We Shall Never Surrender        

 

Reigate fort in Surrey was part of an age-old Victorian defence system across the south of England.  ibid.  

 

Armed with these basic weapons, the auxiliaries would attempt to disrupt and sabotage an enemy occupation.  ibid.

 

Britain was using every available building and possible asset to fight Hitler.  ibid.      

 

 

Every available farm field, factory and building now needed to be used to take the fight to Hitler and keep Britain’s home fires burning.  Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler VI: Keep the Home Fires Burning  

 

As early as 1935 shadow factories were being built.  ibid.  

 

Over 1,500 POW detention centres had been created across the country, at their peak housing over 500,000 German and Italian troops.  ibid.

 

 

Britain no longer stood alone.  It was time for the Allies to go on the offensive.  Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler VII: Fighting Back By Sea and Air   

 

Over 400 buildings that back in the day were producing vast amounts of cordite.  ibid. 

 

 

The invasion of the French coast would be the largest and most complex amphibious assault in history.  Rob Bell, The Buildings that Fought Hitler VIII: The Day of Days   

 

 

The Blitz: It was a time when Britain’s fate hung in the balance.  Rob Bell & Michael Buerk & Angelica Bell, The Blitz: Britain on Fire I, Channel 5 2019  

 

Hitler was determined to bring Britain to its knees and ordered a series of raids on the nation’s ports.  ibid.  

 

Now the bombers headed north-west to the biggest port in England … Liverpool was in the eye of the storm.  ibid.

 

Tuesday 1st May 10.45 p.m. Day 1: After the sirens had sent the people of Liverpool scurrying for cover, the first German bombers appeared overhead.  ibid.

 

A week of continual bombing … The May Blitz.  ibid.      

 

 

The story of one of the most intense bombings of a British city in World War II.  The Blitz: Britain on Fire II

 

Bombing raids had already targeted the city centre, the docks, and residential areas.  ibid.  

 

Mill Road Hospital: The hospital was struck by a parachute mine, a direct hit.  ibid.

 

 

This is the story of eight days in May when Britain and Liverpool in particular were in the eye of the storm.  The Blitz: Britain on Fire III       

 

On the morning of the fourth day of the onslaught, Liverpool was waking up from the worst night of bombing so far in the May Blitz.  ibid.

 

The nurses gathered together all of the babies rescued from the rubble, and because there were no cots or cribs left, they placed them all in large clothes baskets.  ibid.

 

 

21:45 hrs 16th May 1943: As the Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron set course for their targets in Germany, none of the airmen could have known they were flying into history and legend.  Their action that night filled the world’s newspapers with dramatic pictures and stories of the enormous damage inflicted on Hitler’s industrial heartland.  Secret History s3e3: The Dambusters Raid, Channel 4 1994

 

Some critics claim it was a waste of the aircrew’s courage.  ibid.

 

 

The picturesque holiday beaches of south Devon: behind a wall of absolute secrecy in the spring of 1944 a series of tragic and bloody events took place.  These events were to have a decisive effect on D-Day, the Allied assault on France which would change the course of the Second World War.  Secret History s6e10: D-Day Disaster, Channel 4 1998     

 

What happened on these beaches has been shrouded in mystery for decades.  ibid.    

 

The Americans were to take part in a series of practice invasions on the beaches of Devon.  ibid.

 

The US Army had not anticipated real casualties during the rehearsals.  ibid.

 

‘Drownings, false landings, overhead firings … sometimes the misfire of a grenade … Following the basic training in which over 50 soldiers had died, the exercises moved on to full-scale amphibious landings on Slapton Sands.  ibid.  

 

During an exercise codenamed Fox things began to go seriously wrong.  ibid.

    

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