Remembering the 'Phoney War' in Thurrock

17 October 2019

Air raids and heavy fighting are the focus of Thurrock Museum's latest exhibition marking the events of World War II.

Until 11am on Friday 1 November, residents can discover why the first few months of the Second World War were nicknamed the 'Phoney War' in a display at the Thameside Complex's ground floor exhibition space in Orsett Road, Grays.

The exhibition, compiled by Thurrock Museum volunteers, showcases how people in Thurrock coped and how they supported the onset of war when the anticipated air raids and heavy fighting did not materialise. During this time:

  • air raid precautions were rigidly enforced
  • rationing was introduced for food and petrol
  • many people took on voluntary roles on the Home Front
  • children were evacuated with their schools to safer areas

Convoy escorts were also introduced after the German navy sank increasing numbers of merchant ships, and defending the Thames became a priority after the Luftwaffe dropped mines.

Cllr Deborah Huelin, Cabinet member for communities, said: "I'm intrigued by the latest exhibition from Thurrock Museum which remembers an event from World War II that many may not know about. The so-called 'Phoney War' reflects the lack of action between Germany and the Allies which many hoped would bring this devastating war to an almost abrupt end. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

"Many thanks to the museum’s volunteers who continue to carry out an important role in marking the stages of significant historical milestones within the borough."

In 2020, the museum will continue its series of free exhibitions marking major events worldwide including the Home Front of the Second World War with the evacuation of Dunkirk.

To find out about other events, go to

Photo below: Bata's "Dad's Army" in East Tilbury.