This sort of sky and landscape would have been the last glimpse of England that many bomber crews saw as they left their airfields to fly to Occupied Europe and Germany.

The twilight hour was the one which separated a comparatively safe and quiet life in Britain from the highly dangerous skies over the seas and into enemy territory.

Those on the ground who saw the aircraft go would have been counting the hours until the aircrew came back, usually when it was still dark.


In 1940 the clocks weren’t put back at the end of summer, and in spring 1941 they were put forward one hour again. The measure was decided upon to give people longer to get home before the blackout, although of course lighter evenings meant darker mornings.

When thinking about the view of the airfield which the bomber crews saw before they left, we have to remember this time difference. In mid-summer, they could be leaving at 11 or 12 at night, in order to ensure cover of darkness over the Continent. In the winter, when take-off for Berlin might take place around 5 o’clock (4 o’clock our time today), it would still have just been light.

The clocks were eventually put back in 1947.



Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: