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When war was declared on 1 September 1939, the people of Devon pulled together in a way that they hadn't done since the Great War of 1914-18. This book covers the people of Devon's contribution to the war effort, from the commencement of the conflict in September 1939, to its end in September 1945. It features many forgotten news stories of the day and looks at the changes to civilian's everyday lives, entertainment, spies and the internment of aliens living within the area.
Devon became vital as a base for troops and as a dispatch point for the many men who left to fight in Europe. Several RAF bases were also established within the county to repel German attacks. Air raid shelters were erected in gardens and at public places and many children living in larger cities were swiftly evacuated to the countryside, as Plymouth and Exeter both suffered greatly from German bombing, with much of Plymouth being obliterated. Carrying a gas mask, rationing, the make-do-and-mend culture and the collection of scrap metal all became a generic way of life.
Many of the jobs left open by men fighting abroad were taken up by women on the Home Front. The Women's Voluntary Service assisted with the evacuation of mothers and children to the country, carried out civil defense duties and provided food and clothing for the many refugees from occupied Europe.
During the buildup to D Day, American troops were trained and stationed within the county before leaving for the beaches of Normandy. Slapton Sands, Dartmoor and Woolacombe were all used as training grounds with tragic loss of life at Slapton.
Devon played a truly vital role in the war and its people contributed greatly to bringing the world changing conflict to an end.