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From September 1940 until May 1941, London was bombed almost daily by the German Luftwaffe in what came to be known as the Blitz. Although by 1942 the pressure was off, as Hitler focused his firepower on Russia, the capital in which Charlotte arrives was in a terrible state.
London had by then suffered intensive bombing on a scale never seen before, during which 60,000 people were killed and two million homes were destroyed. The inhabitants of London had grown used to the nightly rush to an air raid shelter whenever a siren sounded, often in an Underground (subway) station.
By 1942, life was returning to a kind of normality. The air raids were over, but conditions remained very difficult. People lived crammed together in shared flats and houses, due to the loss of so much housing stock. Unexploded ordnance remained a significant danger, despite the efforts of army bomb disposal experts.
The Massif Central is situated in south central France and makes up 15% of the total land mass. It is an elevated area of mountains and plateaus, which has seen volcanic activity over the last 10,000 years. It is cleaved from the Alps by the Rhône River.
Clermont-Ferrand is one of France’s oldest cities, known to the ancient Greeks, Gauls and Romans. The first Christian crusade to free Jerusalem from Islam was launched from Clermont-Ferrand in 1095 by Pope Urban II.
The city is surrounded by the La Chaîne des Puys (Chain of Volcanoes) and is renowned as the birthplace of Blaise Pascal.
Vera Lynn has recently had an astonishing comeback with this album.
The Hog's Back is a stretch of the North Downs in Surrey, a narrow ridge between Guildford and Farnham. The views to north and south on a clear day are beautiful. The top road, an ancient route mentioned in a letter by Jane Austen, is now part of the A31.
Louveciennes was a traditional French village that has now been absorbed into the western suburbs of Paris. It was a favourite subject for the Impressionist artists Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)and Camille Pissarro (1830-1903).
Pissarro eventually settled there with his family in 1866. Renoir and Monet also painted in the area.
Cannerly means Carlton Gardens.
General de Gaulle was given the use of 4 Carlton Gardens, from which to run his government in exile and co-ordinate the Free French forces. This large house was once home to Lord Palmerston. Carlton Gardens is next to the Mall, a few minutes' walk from Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.
André and Jacob Duguay, the two little Jewish boys, have reached their final destination: the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau near the southern Polish town of Oświęcim.