New Footage of "The Blitz" Unveiled

Monday, September 06, 2010

Rare color footage of the bomb damage inflicted on London during World War II has surfaced on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Blitz.

The dramatic footage shows the destruction of several London landmarks, including the flagship John Lewis store on Oxford Street.

The film was released Monday by Westminster Council to mark the start of the devastating German bombing campaign that began September 7, 1940, and continued until May 1941.

The 20-minute video is composed of film shot by the Chief Air Warden of Marylebone, Alderman Coucher, on the home movie equipment in use in the 1940s. It was discovered recently in an attic by Coucher's granddaughter - former Lord Mayor of Westminister Carolyn Keen.

The footage also shows wartime leader Winston Churchill visiting bomb sites to assess the damage. By the end of May 1941, over 43,000 civilians - half of them in London - had been killed by bombings and more than a million houses in Britain's capital were destroyed or damaged.

The film will be available online on a website created to mark the 70th anniversary of the Blitz.


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