When the Second World War broke out, Warwick already had public air raid shelters planned, gas masks were being distributed, and there was even a power struggle when Warwickshire County Council took control of the Air Raid Wardens from the police. Although Warwick was not a prime target for the Luftwaffe, nearby Coventry was and minor blackout regulations were rigorously enforced. St Mary`s Church was believed to have been used as a marker for the Luftwaffe, and when Coventry was attacked in November 1940, the flames could be seen from Warwick. Afterwards, refugees soon began arriving from the stricken city.
Visiting American and Canadian troops were welcomed in their thousands, although other temporarily stationed service personnel were not always so popular, as their arrival coincided with a shortage of other local young men in the town and bigamy cases were not unknown. Meanwhile, rationing brought its own problems; the stealing of both petrol and ration coupons was not unheard of, while the shortage of petrol resulted in a rise in offences involving the use of bicycles, usually by service personnel.
By late 1944, it was apparent the Allies had won the war and the Home Guard was stood down. Indeed, the celebrations for VE Day had been prepared long before victory was declared.
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The War in Europe
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