British Posters From the Second World War

I think everyone is familiar with that the iconic KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON poster, now everywhere and repurposed to sell, lampoon, or support virtually everything (I will probably have a KEEP CALM AND TRUST HETHERIDGE version for Black & Blue, since things will get rocky for our heroes in that book). What you may not know is, the original was designed in the event of invasion by German forces, so mercifully, it was never actually put in circulation until long after the war. But here are some other posters, all now in the public domain, that the Ministry of Information put out between 1939-1945.

By mid-war, unmarried females were expected to do their bit by joining a home front service. The Women's Royal Navy Service was meant to free up men for combat by placing women in shore-based duties.

By mid-war, unmarried females were expected to do their bit by joining a home front service. The Women’s Royal Navy Service was meant to free up men for combat by placing women in shore-based duties.

.Air_Raid_Wardens_Wanted_Art.IWMPST13850

When the Local Defence Volunteers (soon renamed the Home Guard) were formed in mid 1940, ARP volunteers shifted duties in large numbers, anxious to fight for their country after Dunkirk.

Caring for Evacuees

The first efforts at evacuating children, pregnant women, and the elderly went poorly, since the expected German air raids didn’t happen right away, and naturally families resisted being split up. Once the Blitz started, the need to help bombed out families became very real.
Keep_Death_off_the_Road_Art.IWMPST4662

The blackout officially started on September 1, 1939, though many areas (including my imaginary village of Birdswing) were compliant earlier. According to WARTIME BRITAIN 1939-1945 (Gardiner, 2004): “In the first four months of the war a total of 4,133 people were killed on Britain’s roads, and 2,657 were pedestrians.” The poster above is a grim reminder.

8 thoughts on “British Posters From the Second World War

  1. Thank you! Expect bits and pieces of all this to appear in future books. Book #2 (Divorce Can Be Deadly) will certainly discuss the loosening of the blackout restrictions after so many deaths.

  2. I know. I got them from the imperial war museum. I had only planned to get the magnet but mentioned to my partner that I really wanted the tea towel & he got me it whilst the kids & I had ice cream outside lol

  3. I picked up the magnet after a visit to the imperial war museum in London but wanted the tea towel so much my partner surprised me by going back in to the toilet & coming back with it

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