Monday, February 29, 2016

During WW II 'Keep Calm and Carry On' apparently also applied to criminals

During WW II, Britain's selfless volunteers pulled together to defend the UK from the threat of Nazi invasion. But not everyone was necessarily in it together. Despite the Blitz spirit of World War II, crime rose from 303,771 offences in 1939 to 478,000 in 1945. Why?

According to the BBC, during the early part of the war, British cities suffered repeated bombing raids that devastated large areas. This was the source of the famous Blitz spirit - the British people's determination to maintain the war effort. But while many pulled together, others used the raids as an opportunity for crime.

Bombed and abandoned buildings were a treasure trove for looters. After a raid on Dover, one man returned home to find his entire house stripped. Even the carpets and pipes had been taken by opportunistic thieves.

Others even looted while air raids were taking place. At the height of the air raid on Coventry in November 1940 two men were caught ransacking a wine seller's.

"I cannot think of conduct more detestable than that, during the most dreadful air raid which has ever taken place, you should be found looting," the judge told them as he jailed them for six and seven years respectively.

In Kensington, west London, a gardener was caught removing rings from four dead bodies in January 1941 while on one day in November 1940, 20 of the 56 cases at the Old Bailey were looters. Ten of these were auxiliary firemen.

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