Reach Collection


VE Day marked the end of five and a half years of struggle for the British people. But what had life been like on the Home Front?

The Home Front was considered an invaluable part of the war effort and this section takes a closer look at what life was like prior to VE Day, where gas masks were a necessity, sugar a rarity and enemy bombs a devastating reality. But despite the loss and deprivation, the people of Britain got on with their lives and found ways to adapt. The ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ ethos was very much at the forefront of everyday life.

It was a time of austerity that would teach us how to recycle, to avoid waste, to make do and mend.

Before Mary Berry was showing us how to avoid a soggy bottom, food writer Marguerite Patten was teaching the nation how to make a sponge with no eggs. And everyone did their bit for the war effort, from knitting socks for soldiers to making blackout curtains and cups of tea for the shellshocked.

The future queen Princess Elizabeth drove an ambulance, one of many women who became a vital part of the serving forces.

From 1939 to 1945, national newspapers such as the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express told the nation’s story in words and pictures. As well as providing a constant source of advice and information, the newspapers captured on camera the courage, humour and resourcefulness of people battling through adversity.

They are unforgettable images: St Paul’s Cathedral rising majestically from the ashes of the Blitz after one of the heaviest nights of bombing, children playing amid the rubble of demolished homes, a baby born during an air raid, people digging for victory, putting out fires, getting married, jitterbugging the night away. Over the following pages we show you some of those pictures that reveal Britain during one of its most turbulent times and the resilient people who lived through it.





Reach PLC (UK)