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World War II was a global war fought between 1939 and 1945. It was the deadliest conflict in human history, with an estimated 70 to 85 million fatalities.

Role in Coronation Street

Like many locations in the United Kingdom, Weatherfield was not immune to the effects of the war. The declaration of war came on the same day as Sam Burgess' wedding to Alice Hewitt and the wedding reception was held in the air raid shelter of the Rovers Return Inn. The following day, the pupils at Bessie Street School were evacuated to Blackpool.

Most of the men of the area were called to service. Sam Burgess was killed in action at Dunkirk in June 1940, leaving Alice a widow after less than a year of marriage. Alice's brother, Harry, who had tried to enlist but was refused due to a foot problem, was emotionally blackmailed into enlisting by their father Thomas, using Sam's death as leverage.

At home, Coronation Street and the surrounding areas continued to be subject to a series of air raids. One such raid in December 1940 killed nine members of the Grimshaw family when a bomb landed on 18 Gas Street. On the same night, Marjorie Barlow was killed when she was buried by part of a collapsing brick wall behind Elliston's Raincoat Factory.

Following the entry of the United States into the war, the military base at Burtonwood became home to many of the American soldiers. These drew the attention of Elsie Tanner, who made many visits to the base at Burtonwood to entertain the GIs, and several of them also visited Elsie at her home at 11 Coronation Street. The frequent sight of soldiers leaving No.11 after an overnight stay gave Elsie a reputation as a "tart".

In May 1945, after six years of conflict, Victory in Europe was declared after the surrender of Nazi Germany. The residents of Coronation Street held a street party to celebrate. However, this was overshadowed by the death from a heart attack of Corner Shop owner Tommy Foyle during the celebrations.

In September 1964, nineteen years after the end of the war, an unexploded bomb was discovered in the back garden of No.1 and the residents were evacuated to the cellar of the Glad Tidings Mission Hall. This brought back memories of the war years for the residents, who passed the time by telling war stories and singing wartime songs.


  • The prequel novels Coronation Street at War and its sequel The Way to Victory take place during the Second World War.