Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 following the German invasion of Poland. Enemy air raids on London were expected and many women and children were evacuated, although they subsequently returned to the capital after bombing failed to materialise.
The first heavy bombing raids on London finally came on the 25 August 1940. Then on 7 September, a fleet of 320 German bombers supported by 600 fighters appeared in the sky over the capital, bombing Woolwich Arsenal, Becton Gas Works, a large number of docks and parts of the East End, the City, Westminster and Kensington, killing 430 people and seriously injuring 1,600. This was the first night of the London Blitz, a period of intense bombing which lasted until 10 May 1941.
As the war in Russia intensified, the raids on London decreased and a relative lull began at the end of May that lasted until December 1943.
The Luftwaffe returned in far greater numbers between January and May 1944. This was followed in June by the arrival of the first V-1 flying bomb, a pilotless aircraft packed with an 850kg (1,870lb) warhead. Then, in September, the first V-2 rocket detonated in Chiswick, killing three people. The V-2 was a 12,500kg (27,00lb) projectile carrying 1000kg (2,200lb) of explosive which arrived without warning and frequently caused high numbers of casualties.
The attack on London ended on 28 March 1945. 29,890 people had been killed in the London Civil Defence Region. A further 50,507 had been seriously injured. 116,483 buildings had been destroyed and a further 1,687,165 required some form of repair.
Many of the images for this period on Collage are by the photographers Arthur Cross and Fred Tibbs who recorded bomb damage in the City of London during the course of the war. The full range of these images can be explored by searching under Artists by either Arthur Cross or Fred Tibbs.