09 April 2018

British Soldiers Going to the Front

Image size: 1600 x 1074 pixel. 362 KB
Date: Friday, 29 September 1939
Place: Somewhere in England
Photographer: Unknown

Pictured above are British soldiers from the BEF (British Expeditionary Forces) preparing to ship out to France for the newly begun Second World War, September 29th, 1939. From September 1939 to April 1940 there was a period of time known as the "Phoney War." After the outbreak of war in September 1939, France and Britain had declared war on Germany but made no real action except sending French troops to the border and British Expeditionary Forces to the Belgian, Luxembourg, German, and Italian borders. The French and British adopted a mainly defensive strategy and relied pretty much on the Maginot Line and BEF forces on the Belgian border. During this period of time the British and French began air raid drills and conscription into their armies. Britian, expecting that it's cities would be devastated by bomb attacks, began a massive evacuation of children from areas considered to be at high risk of being bombed (i.e. major cities.) Hospitals were emptied to free beds for bombing casualties. Entertainment venues were closed. The snakes in the London Zoo are even killed for fear that a bomb might free them to roam the devastated capital! When bombing failed to materialize, life went back to a relatively normal way but the Allied citizens were still weary and reluctant about a new world war as a vast majority had seen or heard of the carnage during World War I. Civilians were issued gas masks, ration cards, and other essentials in the event of a bombing or even invasion. The French sent probes over the border but this was the most aggressive action they took on the Western Front, and this would be one of their gravest mistakes. In May 1940 the Germans invaded the Low Countries and then in June they overran France.

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