7th September 1940: The first day of the Blitz

There was an alarm on this afternoon at 5.30. I was at Bourne Mill, and there were some little girls playing in the next field. They took no notice of the siren at all. 126 people went into the Castle Vaults.

Had supper with Rose, and was much disturbed by the number of planes going over from W. to E. about 10 o’clock. The radio news tonight says there have been severe raids on London today. Between 10 and midnight there was heavy firing down on the coast. I felt more frightened than I have done for some time, and went to the Castle for a while to see if an alarm was sounded but none came. There was some excitement in the town during the evening, and apparently an invasion scare is in progress. All soldiers were fetched out of the pubs by the Military Police, and the Home Guard were called out. I saw several lorry loads of soldiers going into the Park about half past 10, to man the strong points there, and another detatchment went into the stable yard at Port Lane.

It seemed to me a most unlikely night for an invasion, as the weather is cold and windy.

The major raids on London on 7th September 1940 were a result of the German Luftwaffe's change of tactics as they switched their attention from attacking aerodrome sites to a full scale attack on London. The 7th September 1940, therefore, marked the opening day of the London Blitz, that would last for the next 9 months. For more detail on events on 7th September 1940, see the Imperial War Museum's Battle of Britain website, the RAF's Battle of Britain Campaign Diary and the BBC's History website including events to mark this anniversary.

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