PortCities London

Wartime

Through both world wars the Observatory continued to function and assistants continued to work. In both wars a number of permanent employees were called up to fight. During the Second World War those that stayed behind, either because their work was considered vital to the war effort or because they were too old or too young, were expected to join the Home Guard.

Royal Observatory Homeguard.

Royal Observatory Homeguard.

Allotments in Greenwich Park during the war.

Allotments in Greenwich Park during the war.

During the Second World War numerous employees at the Observatory were called up for military service. Many of those who stayed behind because they were too old, too young or were doing work considered essential to the war effort joined the Home Guard. This photograph shows three members of Observatory staff in their Home Guard uniforms.

The Ministry of Agriculture launched the 'Dig for Victory' campaign soon after the outbreak of war. People were encouraged to transform private gardens, parks and scrub land into mini-allotments. It was believed that this would not only provide essential crops for families and neighbourhoods alike, but help the war effort by freeing up valuable space for war materials on merchant shipping convoys. By 1943, over a million tons of vegetables were being grown in gardens and allotments like the ones shown here in Greenwich Park. The National Maritime Museum and Royal Naval College can be seen in the distance.
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