The Fire of London, September 1940, The Blitz

The Fire of London Sept 1940‘Then came the Blitz. The first raid of August 24, 1940 hit Cripplegate. During previous weeks the near approach of German aircraft had often set the sirens going, and “Wailing Willie”, as they came to be known, was accepted as a fact of London life. Immediately after the first raid dozens of workmen appeared, put up scaffolding and started to replace shattered window glass – but worse was to come, far worse! For eight weeks London was hit again and again. Apart from striking at strategic targets like docks, warehouses and railways, the Luftwaffe hoped to break the city’s morale. It failed. There were exceptions and not everyone was as immune from fear and panic as some wartime propaganda suggested; yet the fact remained that London’s spirit was unbroken throughout the war.
Here, at the very heart of the City, an amazing symbol of London’s resilience re-emerged to defy Hitler and all that his Nazis stood for. This was the cathedral of St. Paul’s. Although it was damaged by high-explosive bombs, had most of its windows blown out, and was sprinkled with small incendiary bombs, Wren’s mighty church survived, largely through the efforts of its dedicated team of fire-wardens.’