Hutchinson's Pictorial History of the War, Series 13 No 1

HUTCHINSON’ PICTORIALS HISTORY of the WAR THE BATTLIi OF LONDON by ihe Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill, P.C., C.Il., M.P., Prime Minister I n a spccch at a luncheon given by the London County Council on 14th July, 1941, to members of the Government and London Regional Com­missioners, following a civil Defence Parade in Hyde Park, Mr. Churchill said :It seems tome odd that it should have taken the stresses of a great world war to bring me for the first time to the County Hall, and I am very glad indeed to find that by the time the call came the hall had not already ceased to exist. You have taken in this building some of the blows and scars which have fallen upon London, but like the rest of London you carry on. The impressive and in­spiring spectacle we have witnessed in Hyde Park this morning displays the vigour and efficiency of the civil defence forces of London. They have grownup in the stress of emer­gency. They have been shaped and tempered by the fire of the enemy, and this morning we saw them all, in their many grades and classes— the wardens, the rescue and first aid parties, the casualty services, the decon­tamination squads, the fire services, the report and con­trol centre staffs, the highways and public utility ser­vices, the messengers, the police. All these we have seea on a lovely English summer morn, marching past, men and women in all the pomp and panoply— not of war, though it is war— but of their civic duties. There they marched, and as one saw them bypassing no one could but feel how great a people, how great a nation, we have the honour to belong to. Plow complex, sensitive, resilient, is the society we have evolved over centuries, and how capable of with­standing the most unexpected strain. Those whom we saw this morning were the representatives of nearly a quarter of a million organised functionaries and servants in the defence of London, who, in one way or another, stand to their posts or who take an active part in the maintenance of the life of London and Greater Lon­don in an attack which, when it began and while it was at its pitch, was unexampled in history. And what we saw to-day in Hyde Park was only symbolic of what can be produced, though on a smaller scale, throughout the length and breadth of this country— a compe­tent and embattled island. In September last, hav­ing been defeated in his invasion plans by the R.A .F., Hitler declared his intention to raze the cities of Britain to the ground, and in the early days of that month he set the whole fury of the Hun upon London. None of us quite knew what would bethe result of a concentrated and pro­longed bombardment of this vast centre of popu­lation. Herein the Thames Valley over 8,000,000 people are maintained at avery high level of modern civilisation. They are dependent from day today upon light, heat, water,power, sewerage, and communications on the most complicated scale. The administration of London in all its branches was confronted with problems hitherto unknown and un­measured in all the history of the past. Public order, public health, the maintenance of all the essential ser­vices, the handling of the millions of people who came in and out of London everyday the shelter— not in­deed from the enemy’s bombs, for that was beyond us. but from their blast and splinters— the shelter of millions of men and women, and the removal of the dead and wounded from the shattered buildings the care o' wounded when hospitals were being ruthlessly bombed, and the provision for the homeless—sometimes amount­ing to many thousands in a single day, and accumulating to many more after three or four days of successive attacks—all these things, with the welfare and the education amid these scenes of our great numbers of THE VOICE OF LIBERTY “You do your worst— and we will do our best.' Prime Minister challenges Hitler The
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