Again from The Times, thinking about the Second World War 70 years after it began, by the creator of Dad's Army Jimmy Perry :
“I can still remember the day that war was declared,” he tells me. “It was a normal Sunday breakfast in the Perry household. My father was reading the Sunday Express; the headline read: ‘GERMANY INVADES POLAND’. He said, ‘It’s rubbish! Of course there isn’t going to be a war’. When the fateful broadcast came, my sister and I were alone in the house. As soon as Chamberlain had finished, the air-raid sirens started. There we were, two young teenagers, standing with our gas masks ready, waiting to be obliterated.”
Of course what immediately ensued was not obliteration but rather the "Bore War" as it was called at the time. Or, the later term imported from America, the "Phoney War." To many it was rather anti-climactic that the predictions of destruction and the end of civilization presaged by H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come did not materialize. Many people quietly put their gas masks away in a cupboard. Others had their evacuated children retrieved from the countryside.
Perry has some interesting reflections on the tragedy of war and remembering the Home Guard in a comic light.