Artwork to commemorate heroes of the Blitz commissioned by Ancestry

Family history experts Ancestry have commissioned 33 artists around the UK to create artwork based on Civil Gallantry Award records held at The National Archives to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of the Blitz.

The aerial bombing campaign of industrial towns and cities during the Second World War started on 7 September 1940 and continued for more than eight months causing widespread destruction across the UK.

Anna Marrow Ancestry Blitz Art 'Extinguishing Fires'

Anna Marrow, Ancestry Blitz Art ‘Extinguishing Fires’

Inspired by the War Artists Advisory Committee established in 1939, the new online gallery depicts 80 stories from areas hit hardest by the Blitz and reveals personal stories of everyday heroism on the home front.

Each piece of art is based on an historical record and true story from the Civil Gallantry Award collection.

Dr William Butler, Head of Military Records at The National Archives, said: “The Civilian Gallantry Award records are a treasure trove of stories, highlighting the incredible and often dangerous work carried out by individuals working as air raid wardens, first aid workers, firewatchers and messengers during the Second World War.


“They provide vivid details of the exploits and heroic deeds of civilians fighting a war away from the battlefields and highlight the sacrifices so often made on the home front.

“This collection of artwork, commissioned by Ancestry, pays tribute to the original War Artists Advisory Committee by adding new reflections on the experiences of many communities during that turbulent time in our history.”

Michael Snodgrass Ancestry Blitz Artwork 'Messenger'

Michael Snodgrass, Ancestry Blitz Artwork ‘Messenger’

Click here to view Ancestry’s online gallery of the new art collection

Explore our Second World War research guides here

Tags: ancestry, blitz, civilian gallantry awards, military