Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II

Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II

This is a Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II. For narrative and bibliography see Home front during World War II


June 3, 1939: The Military Training Act, Britain's first peacetime draft, comes into force. All men aged 20-21 are now liable to call-up for four years military service as 'Militiamen'.

August 24, 1939: Given the worsening situation in Europe, Parliament is recalled and immediately enacts the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939, granting the government special legislative powers for the duration of the crisis.: Army reservists are called up.: Civil Defence workers are put on alert.

August 30, 1939: The Fleet proceeds to its war stations.

September 1, 1939: In response to the German invasion of Poland and the prospect of war with Germany, plans for the evacuation of children and nursing and expectant mothers from London and other areas deemed vulnerable to German air attack are put into action.: The Blackout begins.:The British Army is officially mobilized.

September 2, 1939: Under intense criticism from the House, Neville Chamberlain abandons an offer to negotiate peace terms between Germany and Poland and agrees to present an ultimatum to Hitler.

September 3, 1939: Shortly after 11:00 Chamberlain announces to the nation that his ultimatum has expired and that Britain is at war with Germany.: Twenty minutes later the first air raid sirens are sounded in London. They are a false alarm.: Chamberlain reforms his Government, creating a small War Cabinet which includes Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty.: The National Service (Armed Forces) Act is passed. All men aged 18-41 are now potentially liable for conscription.

September 7, 1939: The National Registration Act is passed, introducing identity cards.

September 27, 1939: The first war tax is revealed by the Cabinet, including a significant hike in income taxes.

October 1, 1939: Call-Up Proclamation: all men aged 20-21 who have not already done so must apply for registration with the military authorities.

October 6, 1939: With the end of formal Polish resistance the Phony War begins.""'


January 8, 1940: First food rationing introduced.

May 7, 1940: The debate on the recent debacle in Norway leads (on May 10) to Chamberlain's resignation.

May 10, 1940: Germany invades France and the Low Countries, ending the Phony War.: Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister and forms an all-party coalition government.

May 14, 1940: In a BBC radio broadcast Anthony Eden calls for the creation of the "Local Defence Volunteers" (LDV) militia - renamed on July 23 the Home Guard.

May 22, 1940: The Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1940 is passed, granting the government even more authority to control persons and property for the duration of the war.

July 9, 1940: Official start date of the Battle of Britain.

September 7, 1940: German bombing raid on South London's Surrey Docks signals the formal beginning of The Blitz.

October 31, 1940: Official end date of the Battle of Britain.

November 14, 1940: Massive German bombing raid on Coventry.


January 21, 1941:The Communist Daily Worker is banned.

May 10, 1941: Last major attack on London of the 1940-41 Blitz.

December 18, 1941: The National Service (No. 2) Act is passed. All men and women aged 18-60 are now liable to some form of national service, including military service for those under 51. The first military registration of 18.5-year-olds takes place. The Schedule of Reserved Occupations is abandoned: from now on only individual deferments from the draft will be accepted.


March 5, 1942: The Daily Mirror publishes a controversial cartoon by Zec which Churchill and other senior government figures allege is damaging to public morale. Zec is investigated by MI5 and the government seriously proposes banning the newspaper until parliamentary opposition forces a retreat.

April 23, 1942: Beginning of so-called Baedeker Blitz on English provincial towns; attacks continue sporadically until June 6.

December 1, 1942:Sir William Beveridge's Report on "Social Insurance and Allied Services" published.


March 10, 1944: R.A. Butler's Education Act passed, reorganizing Britain's school system under the tripartite system.

June 12, 1944: First V-1 Flying Bomb attack on London.

September 8, 1944: First V-2 Rocket attack on London.

September 17, 1944: The Blackout is replaced by a partial 'dim-out'.

September 22, 1944: Ernest Bevin announces the government's plan for eventual military demobilization.

December 3, 1944: The Home Guard is stood down.


March 27, 1945: Last V-2 attack on London.

March 29, 1945: Last V-1 attack on London.

May 8, 1945: VE Day.May 23, 1945: The Labour Party members of the coalition government resign in order to prepare for the upcoming general election. Churchill appoints a largely Conservative caretaker government.

June 16, 1945: The Family Allowances Act passed. Mothers will receive a tax-free cash payment for each child in their care. This is the first time in Britain that a state payment has gone directly to a wife rather than her husband.

June 18, 1945: Demobilization of the armed forces begins.

July 5, 1945: General election voting takes place in the UK. The ballots are then sealed for three weeks to allow the collection and counting of overseas service votes.July 26, 1945: The Labour Party wins the general election with a historic landslide. Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister and forms a new government.

August 15, 1945:VJ Day.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries: