Children of the Blitz  


Part Two

Intimidated by Mr Holden and Arthur, the children are forced together and gradually a close relationship develops between Helen and Anne. Anne - a bright girl often compelled to stay away from school to look after the farm - begins to blossom.

As the weeks role by the frictions between the groups of children become clear  as the country kids defend their land from the invasion by the "townees" - an invasion that seems rather more real than the threat posed by the distant Hitler and the Germans!

The bullying Arthur emerges as the ringleader of the rougher local local kids and shares his father's resentment of the incomers. He and his gang seem intent on showing the "townees" who's boss.  Despite their insecurity the evacuees begin to stick up for themselves - except for the defenceless, Gas mask who - as he is billeted with Arthur - is subject to his intimidation on a daily basis.

The local vicar suggests a Christmas Concert to unite the bands of children and warily they begin to rehearse together. With Helen's encouragement, Anne also takes part but without the knowledge of her father.

On the night of the concert, Annie tries to sneak off to the performance but her secret is discovered by Mr Holden who disapproves of the event as a waste of time. Anne tries to defy him but he grabs her and strikes her, knocking her to the ground. Helen stands over her friend and defends her. Annie tells Helen to go and that everything will be all right. Helen reluctantly leaves her friend. The angry and bewildered Mr Holden attempts to reach out to his daughter who forcefully tells him to leave her alone.

The scene immediately then shifts to the end of the concert as the children unite in a flag waving marching routine as one of them sings, "There'll always be an England".

Helen and June return to London for a week over Christmas. On their return they discover that Mrs Holden has died and that they are now to be billeted with the local schoolteacher. The unfortunate Gas Mask has to remain where he is.


News from the War is grim  - the British forces are rescued from Dunkirk and the country braces itself for invasion. Even in the countryside, Anderson shelters are dug and as the spring becomes summer all eyes are to the skies. Using their Daily Mirror spotter's guides the children try to identify passing planes.

One day, they spot a dogfight in the distance and cheer as the RAF down a german bomber. As


the plane plummets to the ground they count the parachutes blossom in the sky some realise that not all the crew have escaped from their plane. They learn later of the capture of the surviving Germans close to a nearby village and  reflect on the possible fate of their own fathers and brothers.

As the summer drifts towards Autumn the news is not good. The bombing of the towns intensifies and the evacuees are anxious for news from home. Despite their relative safety, the children often hear bombers passing overhead and have to regularly spend nights in their air-raid shelters.

On the night of 24th November, 1940 it is Helen's 14th birthday. Her party is interupted by the air-raid siren and she and her friends troop to their Anderson shelter. As they continue to celebrate they hear bombers approaching - presumably on the way to a nearby city. But then an anti-aircraft battery at a nearby barracks open up on the planes and the bombs begin to fall. Anne - fearful for her father is notoriously unconcerned about blackouts - panics and runs out of the shelter to go home. Helen tries to stop her but is pulled back as the others are aware that the bombs are falling close by. The scene ends as the bombs fall around the little village.

The next morning Helen tries to go and see her friend but discovers her way is blocked by a member of the Home Guard. He tells her that Mr Holden's farm was destroyed the previous night and there are no survivors. Stunned, Helen cannot believe the news. In the background a duffle coated figure approaches out of the mist - it is Anne.  The bombs hit before she got back but she was knocked over by the force of the explosion and had wondered around for the rest of the night, dazed and confused. Helen resolves to take her back to Mrs Whittakers.


Time passes rapidly and in 1943 Helen and June return to London and their family. They reflect on what happened to them and the difficulty of readjusting to family life. As the play closes  in 1944 a V1 flying bomb (Doddlebug) passes overhead. Fortunately Helen and June survive this final threat as the curtain falls