Crime On The Home Front: Breaking the law during World War Two

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by vailron, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    something we do not hear much about, but during ww2 crime in the uk was rife, racketeering, housebreaking, looting prostitution it all went on why is this side of the home front very seldom mentioned
     
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    I watched the documentary about the UK's wartime criminals last week.

    They asked one of them what did he regret about his life of crime during the war?

    Answer: Getting caught!
     
  4. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    really good programme on uk history last night all about war time crime in the u.k. looking at the gangs, and prostitution, and how few policemen were on teh streets those days.
     
  5. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    I saw something on TV before about criminals dressing up as the home guard during the blitz, then evacuating people from their houses before burgling the empty properties.
     
  6. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    one of the areas looked at was the gang of female shoplifters known as " the 40 thieves"
     
  7. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Yeah I've heard of them too. Don't know much about them though. I think the reason why crime on the home front isn't mentioned as much is probably coz crime has already been rife for hundreds of years and that during the war there were more 'important' things to talk about.
     
  8. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    And the shame as well. The country was fighting for its life and these people were using it as an excuse to thieve and kill. Yeah, people are going to talk about that.
     
  9. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    it is still a part of what went on during the war so shouldnt it be talked about????
     
  10. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    of course it should, but its finding the people who will talk thats the problem.
     
  11. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    and another problem is, that there are so few left who suffered first hand experiences at the hand of the criminals
     
  12. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Despite the undisputed fact that criminal activity took place in wartime as it does in all times, I think it right to place on record the respect that was shown to victims of air attacks.

    My own wife, as a child, was in her house when it was bombed in London and I persuaded her to place her story in the BBC WW2 Archives:
    BBC - WW2 People's War - The night our house was sliced in half

    Note in particular the closing para that tells of her discovering that the family's belongings had been left untouched.
     
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  13. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    plus there are not so many left now that experienced this side of the war 1st hand
     
  14. AndyD

    AndyD Member

    There's a great book on this subject called 'An Underworld at War'.

    Describes murders, rapes and robbery etc in wartime Britain.

    I'll post the authors name when I dig the book out!

    Kind regards,
    Andy
     
  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  16. AndyD

    AndyD Member

    I think that's the one,mine is the HB edition which has a different cover.
     
  17. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    Were attacks on shot down Luftwaffe airmen by civilians considered a crime?
    I think there was one on the 15th September 1940 near a cricket ground in London.
     
  18. susanhemmings

    susanhemmings Junior Member

    Talking of this.
    My grandad was already a works fireman at the India Gutta Percha in Silvertown in 1939 and when the blitz was raging he was on fire duty. (working at an auxillary). My dad tells me that he was in the public baths at oriental road when the docks were bombed and he ran home to find the street where he lived ablaze with the windows blasting out each side of it from the houses owing to the intense heat.

    My grandad was absent from home for three days on his fire duty and the children (my dad included) did not know if he was alive or dead.
    When he eventually returned the family home had been blown to bits (was in winchester street, silvertown) and my dad tells me that he had with him several handfulls of blackened pennies that he had helped himself to from the (meters of) bombed out houses that his crew had doused with water.
    I put his story on the bbc ww2 site also.
    Judging by what my dad tells me (he is now 83) it all probably went down his throat in the pub anyway.
    Susan.
     
  19. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    timuk and Tricky Dicky like this.
  20. Aeronut

    Aeronut Junior Member

    My late father was in the Manchester police from 1949 until 1943 when he was called into the army. He told me that anyone reporting a stolen vehicle to the police was told to go to RAF Ringway where they were likely to find it. Apparently it was quite common for the trainee paratroopers at Ringway to 'borrow' a vehicle to get back to base from a night out in town. Whether or not these ever got recorded as crimes I don't know.
     

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