Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Life in Britain during WWII

Sara and I recently started watching from the beginning a favorite series of ours, a British drama entitled Foyle's War.  Set during WWII, Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Foyle wants to be involved in the war effort for his country, but his superiors keep him on the police force, because crimes (murders) are still being committed in merry old England.

Michael Kitchen as Christopher Foyle
The series starts in 1939 or 1940 and progresses through the war until its end.  What's fascinating is the way daily life is portrayed in this mystery series.  We observe the pinch of rationing, the necessary blackouts, the dispersal of London's children to unknown families to protect them from the German bombers, the air raids on London, the English Nazi sympathizers, and the increasing hatred for legitimate citizens of German descent. 

The series is delightful for its subtlety, its portrayal of WWII Britain, its sensible characters (Foyle; his driver Sam, a young woman; and his assistant detective, a man who lost his leg in the war), its interplay with WWII events (like the rescue of British soldiers at Dunkirk by a fleet of merchant vessels), and its plots that seem simple at first but in reflection are found to be delightfully complex.

At the same time I am reading vol. 2 of the biography of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a Welsh preacher who ministered at London's Westminster Chapel, first coming there as G. Campbell Morgan's co-pastor in 1939.  I read also of the same things I see portrayed in Foyle's War.  Westminster services were often interrupted and terminated by the air raid sirens.  Many churches in London were destroyed and countless more were damaged by German bombs falling from the sky.  Westminster men rotated sleeping in the church to act as a fire brigade should a surprise air attack damage the church.  Dr. Lloyd-Jones sent his wife and children to the countryside to live, not willing to take the chance of them being hurt.  The congregation diminished in size as many of its members moved out of London, and the salaries of both Morgan and Lloyd-Jones were significantly diminished.

In Foyle's War and the Lloyd-Jones bio, I found this a fascinating convergence on life in WWII Britain, and I thought I'd share it with you.

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