Youth at War: Young People and their Schools in Britain During the Second World War

Author(s): Mike Osborne 

ISBN: 9781781558812
$24.00 $33.00
The story of Britain’s young people and their schools adapting to the demands and conditions of the Second World War.

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  • The contribution to Britain’s war effort in the Second World War of young people in industry and agriculture, the Home Guard and voluntary work

  • The disruption to schooling caused by the Second World War

  • How youngsters were prepared for military service in their teenage years

  • How school buildings were utilised in the war effort and the extent of damage caused to schools by bombing

The Second World War was the cause of more civilian casualties, many of them young people, than of military. In Britain, young people were on the frontline, facing the threat of enemy invasion and the fragmentation of daily life.

Their education was disrupted as their schools were taken over by the government, military and Air Raid Precautions (ARP); as pupils were evacuated and staff conscripted; curriculum was diluted and part-time schooling instituted; and concerns over food and accommodation increased.

Along with the physical dangers of bombing and disease caused by deprivation and social dislocation, youngsters endured psychological and emotional pressure from anxieties over home and family.

Young people worked in industry and agriculture, served in the Home Guard and ARP, carried out voluntary activities in health and welfare, and prepared for military service as cadets and in uniformed organisations.

School buildings aided the war effort as military headquarters, training centres and research centres for weapons development and were often bombed.

BOOK ISBN 9781781558812
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 202 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 15 black-and-white and 19 colour photographs



Mike Osborne’s interest in fortification began with childhood visits to castles. It has developed over the years to include all aspects of the topic from iron-age forts to Cold War bunkers. He was a volunteer-co-ordinator for the Defence of Britain Project recording the military structures of the twentieth century. After a thirty-year career in education, he took early retirement and since then has produced nearly twenty books. Topics include Civil War sieges and fortifications, drill halls, twentieth-century military structures and the best-selling Defending Britain.