Battle of Britain Exhibition
The Battle of Britain: War Over Hertfordshire, July to October 1940
The Battle of Britain was a major air campaign fought over southern England in the summer and autumn of 1940. After the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk and the fall of France, Germany planned to gain air supremacy in preparation for an invasion of Great Britain.
The Luftwaffe began targeting airfields supporting industry, ports and infrastructure but Hitler became impatient with their lack of success and switched the bombing to cities and the civilian population, with London taking the brunt during The Blitz.
By mid-September Britain had effectively won the Battle of Britain and as the weather worsened, the Germans finally realised that the RAF couldn’t be defeated. Hitler postponed his invasion plans indefinitely. The Battle of Britain was over but the bombing of London and other major cities continued until 11 May 1941, as did random bombing and enemy attacks by lone German aircraft.
War over Hertfordshire
From July to October 1940, as the attacks intensified, hundreds of bombs fell over Hertfordshire, which left many homeless as houses were destroyed or left in need of urgent repair. As well as targeting factories and railways, rural areas of the county became a dumping ground for bombs. It disrupted lives of everyone, killing around 80 people and injuring many more in just a few months. Single incidences of raiders dropping bombs all over the county were common and hardly a town, village or rural farm escaped the mines, oil bombs, high explosive and numerous incendiary devices.
By the end of the War in 1945, 258 people had been killed by German weapons dropped or landing in Hertfordshire.
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