Traveling Tuesday: England During WWII
Do twenty-one miles seem like a lot to you? Perhaps if you’re walking, then yes. In a car, not so much. How about one hundred and fifty miles. Now, that’s a fair distance no matter what mode of transportation you’re using. Unless your opponent in a war is at the end of those miles.
The English Channel is twenty-one miles wide at its narrowest point and one hundred fifty miles at its widest. In May, 1940 during the Battle of France, Germany captured Boulogne and Calais creating difficulties for a retreat of the British Expeditionary Forces. Fortunately, thanks to hundreds of boats, hard fighting by the troops, and German indecision, the port of Dunkirk was kept open allowing 338,000 Allied troops to be evacuated. When Germany began the occupation in France a month later, the threat of invasion became a constant fear of the British people. Street and directional signs were removed as an impediment to invading forces.
That summer, rationing began in earnest as did blackout regulations, plane spotting, and women rushing to the workforce to help produce planes, tanks, and munitions. With September came the Blitz as well as flying bombs and rockets. Germany conducted multiple air raids across the country every night. The raids went on for months…well into May 1941. Identity tags were issued to the population in the event they would be unrecognizable if killed. Barrage balloons were put into place and shelters were created in the Underground system. Citizens also built personal shelters on their properties.
By early 1942, the Americans arrived to shore up the British defenses and take the offensive getting to Italy, France, and Germany. Troops were met with mixed reactions. Many people were relieved. Others wanted nothing to do with the men who were “overpaid, oversexed, and over here.”
The war ground on until May 8, 1945 when Victory in Europe was declared with surrender of Germany. By the end, England’s citizens were exhausted and malnourished, but proud that they survived. The troops were months getting home, some of them not demobbed until 1947, and rationing would continue for some items until 1952.
It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.
When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.
Will she get to the bottom of the story before the killer strikes again?
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