Acocks Green's vulnerabiliy

Hitler’s armies had swept through Western Europe and there was a great danger that Britain might be overcome as well. Airpower, especially dive bombers, had helped the German armies defeat their opponents. German planes had been involved in the Spanish Civil War and had killed hundreds of innocent people in an attack on Guernica in northern Spain. The ability to win a war depended on planes and motorised transport, so the ability to build and replace damaged or destroyed planes, tanks, armoured cars, and so on, was crucial.


Birmingham was very important in the British war effort, as important parts of military production took place here. In fact there was a custom-built factory in Acocks Green which made parts for aircraft engines. Construction of this started in late 1936 on the site of a market gardening business near the canal. This was the Rover Shadow factory. A shadow factory was a second or even third place where things could be made if the main factory was destroyed. So the presence of this factory made Acocks Green a target for enemy bombers. Parts were also made at Lucas, on Shaftmoor Lane, and later at the Vineries, in the Co-op laundry building. And, of course, the industrial area of Tyseley was only next door.


In addition there was the fear of invasion, and of fighting in the streets.

There was great concern about revealing information to the enemy, and being suspicious about people. Careless talk costs lives, it was said.


The following pages attempt to feature local information and memories where possible, but references to wartime information and propaganda are also included, as they would have affected everyone. We hope these pages are useful to schoolchildren as well as adults.




Acocks Green's vulnerability

Air Raid Precautions and civil defence

Air raid shelters 

Anti-aircraft and barrage balloons

Bombing maps


Gas attack

High explosive bombs

Incendiary bombs

Killed and injured

Rover shadow factory at the Vineries

Strafing incidents

Austerity and saving resources

Dig for Victory

Food in wartime


Prisoners of war

Women in wartime

Extracts from the wartime diary of Frank Taylor Lockwood

Memories of a child's life in Tyseley, by Alexander Hook

Memories of Acocks Green school, by Alexander Hook

Memories of Acocks Green, by Arthur Cundall

The end of the war


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