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20 April 2015

20th April 1945: blackout to end - no more raids expected

'It is thought there will be no more raids; what a relief.'

20 Fri. Very mild, a fresh breeze, lovely sunshine all day. Got a nice piece of beef to-day also other provisions locally. Erected a frame to accommodate runner beans; planted same – Champion Scarlet. Bought a paper at Morden. It is announced that the blackout restrictions will be completely suspended from Monday onwards. It is thought there will be no more raids; what a relief.

Notes on the Blackout - the following is from Wikipedia:

As early as July 1939, Public Information Leaflet No 2 (part of the Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P.) training literature) warned of the need for popular discipline to ensure that the blackout regulations were fully enforced during the blackout periods.[2]
Blackout regulations were imposed on 1 September 1939, before the declaration of war. These required that all windows and doors should be covered at night with suitable material such as heavy curtains, cardboard or paint, to prevent the escape of any glimmer of light that might aid enemy aircraft. The Government ensured that the necessary materials were available.[2] External lights such as street lights were switched off, or dimmed and shielded to deflect light downward. Essential lights such as traffic lights and vehicle headlights were fitted with slotted covers to deflect their beams downwards to the ground.[3]
Shops and factories had particular problems. Factories with large areas of glass roofing found it impossible to install temporary blackout panels and permanent methods (such as paint) lost natural light during daylight. Shops had to install double "airlock" doors to avoid lights showing as customers arrived and departed.[2]
Blackouts proved one of the more unpleasant aspects of the war, disrupting many civilian activities and causing widespread grumbling and lower morale.[4]
The blackout was enforced by civilian ARP wardens who would ensure that no buildings allowed the slightest chink or glow of light.[5] Offenders were liable to stringent legal penalties.[2]
Blackout restrictions greatly increased the dangers of night driving and fatalities increased as a consequence. As a result, some aspects were relaxed and speed limits were lowered. The anticipated increase in crime rates did not occur.[2]
As German war-making capability declined, a "Dim-out" was introduced in September 1944, which allowed lighting to the equivalent of moonlight. A full Blackout would be imposed if an alert was sounded. Full lighting of streets was allowed in April 1945; on 30 April, the day Hitler committed suicide, Big Ben was lit 5 years and 123 days after the Blackout was first imposed.[2]

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