November: A time for remembrance - w(ar)t

November 15, 2020

During my backpacking adventures across the United Kingdom, I came across this wonderful team statue that memorializes every firefighter in the United Kingdom that has died in the line of duty since 1892 - including all the firefighters who died during the blitz of WWII.   A total of no less than 1,192 names are inscribed on the memorial, and you can read these names in a digital book by clicking here.  

I created this composite image after learning more about the history behind this statue.   I can see how this crew, and many others like it, charged into selfless action to save life and property.  I can see how they stood their ground to battle back the searing flames and chocking smoke engulfing them from the relentless pounding of areal bombardments.  I can see the living hell they worked and died in, and I can see the British people being forever thankful by honouring them.    

The Blitz, as the English would call it, was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in WWII.  It commenced on September 7, 1940 and lasted for a period of 57 days and nights.   During this time, London was repeatedly bombed on a daily basis by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) of the Wehrmacht (the armed forces of Nazi Germany).   Other major cities were bombed too, but not as often as London. 

Some scholars think the blitz bombings were done to terrorize and waver British psychology from fighting further.   Others see it differently by thinking the blitz bombings were done to degrade and slow down the productivity of the British military industrial complex.   I suppose both ideas are equally plausible, but one thing is for sure, whatever the drive the Luftwaffe ultimately proved ineffective in stopping the resolve of the British.  

On one level, perhaps the Luftwaffe proved ineffective because the firefighters who jumped into action were able to stop the spread of further damage from the ravages of fire.   On another level, perhaps the Luftwaffe proved ineffective because their bomber fleet and bomb technology were simply (and thankfully) not as efficient as their ideological propaganda had made it appear to be.   Just imagine if they had atomic weaponry on just one of those 57 days of bombardment!    On yet another level, perhaps the Luftwaffe proved ineffective because the United Kingdom became ever more resourceful by employing new counter strategies and tactics like its nascent use of radar technology.   Yet, its radar systems of the time, much like Germany's Luftwaffe of the time, were not completely efficient either.   Bombers still slipped through detection, albeit less and less, and history shows us that those bombers did not do much to change the trajectory of the war.    Yet, they certainly caused a lot of havoc, fires and death in the process.      

The word bliz is short for the German word "blitzkrieg", which translated into English means "lightning war".  The idea ultimately speaks to a military tactic that seeks to create psychological shock and disorganization by using surprise, speed, and overwhelming firepower superiority in a short burst of time. 

This statue was sculpted by John W. Mills.   Jeffrey credits the two bombs used in his composite image to a NewZar Polish news blog that did a feature on how a WWII bomb was found while doing work on Gdańsk railway station.   Yet, I believe the bombs that would have been most likely used during the Blitz campaign would have been the Sprengbombe Cylindrisch 250 bomb.   

November:  A time for remembrance - w(ar)t

Blitz Sculpted by John W Mills, memorial to the firefighters throughout the UK who died performing their duties during the second world war. It stands on the corner of Carter Lane and Sermon Lane and was unveiled on May 4th 1991.

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