The Second World War

The Second World War through primary sources.

Return to the index page - Go to the A level pages on the Second World War

Aircraft Recognition

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During the war it was important for soldiers and officers in the field to be able to identify the different aircraft that they may see above them. This was necessary in order for soldiers to know whether the aircraft were friendly or enemy planes. It was thought that aircraft paint was used to confuse the people on the ground trying to identify the aircraft but it was the shape that was used to identify enemy aircraft and friendly aircraft. Given the speed at which planes move and the damage that even a lone fighter or bomber can wreak, the importance of early recognition of aircraft can not be underestimated. The thumbnail image above is of recognition notes sketched by Captain H Maskell whilst serving in France during September and October of 1944. clicking on the thumbnail will take you to a full size version of the sketches.

Air Raid Precautions

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People on the Home Front had to prepare for the worst. During the Second World War bombings were a real threat to the many people lived in the cities. In order to minimise the casualties caused by air raids and ensure that the raids caused as little destruction as possible, people were assigned very specific roles. The thumbnail image above is of an air raid precautions certificate held by Captain H Maskell. This certificate shows that whilst on leave, Captain Maskell formed part of the City of Bradford's Air Raid precaution team. In fact his role was far from precaution, he was tasked with taking bodies of any victims to the City mortuary.

Both images on this page come from the personal collection of Captain H Maskell. The documents have been kindly made available to this site by the family and are used with their permission.