To mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, the UK’s three largest professional engineering institutions have joined forces to launch an online exhibition that explores the role of engineers and engineering
during the war ‘through the lens’ of their archive collections.
This is the second collaboration of this kind by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the IET; a similar exhibition looked at engineering in the First World War.
Sarah Rogers, head of the Information and Library Service at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “This exhibition highlights the vital wartime role played by all branches of engineering.
“The Second World War marked a shift in the nature of warfare, when advances in technology and industry became a key advantage.
Engineers helped to keep vital troop supply lines moving, and they used their expertise to protect civilians and to make military advances applicable to post-war civilian life.”
The exhibition uses archive documents and photographs to show engineering developments including the Napier Sabre engine (pictured) used in Hawker Tempest fighter planes, civil-engineering options for air-raid shelters, and the importance of maintaining a reliable electricity supply for domestic and industrial use.
Anne Locker, library and archives manager at the IET, said: “The Second World War changed the engineering profession and established the importance of engineering in rebuilding post-war society.
“This exhibition offers an insight into the everyday lives of individual members, whether they were on active service, prisoners of war, working on the home front or advising on national projects.”
Further details can be found at the Web site (engineersatwar.imeche.org