History of War

A TEENAGER IN THE BLITZ   AN INTERVIEW WITH GLENNIS ‘BUNTY’ LEATHERDALE

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“I REMEMBER SEEING SOLDIERS GETTING ON THE TRAIN BACK FROM CORNWALL. YOU SUDDENLY REALISED THAT SOMETHING AWFUL WAS GOING TO HAPPEN”

In 1940 Britain seemed to be on the brink of collapse as Western Europe fell to Nazi domination and RAF pilots struggled to maintain air superiority over home skies. An invasion seemed imminent, and to make matters worse Adolf Hitler directed the Luftwaffe to target civilians in mass bombing raids to heighten the sense of despair. What became known as the ‘Blitz’ brought devastation to London in particular, but the spirit of the people remained defiant.

Civilians quickly learned to adapt to incessant attacks and horrific sights for over five years. One of those determined Londoners was a teenager called Glennis Leatherdale. Nicknamed ‘Bunty’, Leatherdale refused to be evacuated and spent the entire war at home working in a bank and training to be a physiotherapist. Unlike many of her fellow citizens, Leatherdale wrote a fascinating diary in 1943 and recalled sheltering from air raids, surviving bomb attacks, treating wounded servicemen and taking inspiration from some of the darkest moments in London’s history.

Leatherdale was born on 2 February 1924 above her father Alfred’s bakery business in Kennington Lane, London. The bakery was a thriving family enterprise. “My grandfather started a business all on his own. He made the bread and went out in 1870, and my father eventually took it over. When my father died he had a chain of 12 shops throughout London so it had developed into a big business.”

Alfred Leatherdale was a World War I veteran who had been severely wounded in the hand, but this did not hinder

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