During the opening years of World War II Britain was all that was left against Hitler’s military Juggernaut. France had already surrendered and continental Europe was under Germany’s control. Hitler, through a massive bombing campaign, hoped to either knock the UK out of the war or destroy its air force in preparation for invasion. The bombing campaign starting in 1940, until Hitler withdrew his planes in preparation of the invasion of the USSR in 1941, was nicknamed the Blitz by the British and was an almost daily aerial bombardment of the United Kingdom. Many iconic photos emerged from the Blitz. The most famous was captured during the December 29, 1940 raid when a Daily Mail reporter snapped what at the time was called the “War’s greatest picture.” While this was the most famous, one of the more memorable photos was this Milkman Photo taken by Fred Morley on October 9, 1940 and then published the next day on October 10, 1940.
October 9th marked the 32nd day of straight bombing raids against the United Kingdom. The night time raid of October 9th raid infamously struck the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral but luckily the bomb did not detonate. Photographers stationed in London were amazed at the total destruction wrought by German bombers yet their pictures were routinely blocked by the censors who were anxious not to cause a panic. Fred Morley wanting to get some sort of record of the devastation out to the world thought of a situation that the censors would approve. He first found a back drop of firefighters struggling to contain a fire then he borrowed a milkman’s outfit and a craft of bottles. He then got his assistant to pose among the ruins of a city street while the firefighters fought in the background. The photo pushed forward the idea of the stoic British continuing on with their normal lives. The censors felt the same way and it was published the very next day.
Copy Right InfoThis image is handled by Getty Images , the photo agency for the Getty Images news network. This image, Delivery After Raid by Fred Morley, can be purchased from their website at GettyImages.com - Delivery After Raid by Fred Morley
Morley first joined Fox Photos company in January 1926 and in 1951 Fox Photos’ directors Dick Fox and Reg Salmon marked his silver jubilee with a special wristwatch for 25 years’ service with the company. Fred Morley in addition to being a celebrated photo journalist, toured the world capturing beautiful day to day life wherever he went.