1940: In May, Germany had begun its successful invasion of France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
On July 5 it was reported that all beaches along the Hampshire coast were closed to the public, prompted by the imminent danger of enemy invasion. The Luftwaffe carried out incursions and it was realised that the phoney war was over.
There was great activity at Southsea ‘denuding the seafront of its civilian interests and tourist trappings,’ as the Evening News reported.
‘The stores of seaside shops, kiosks and teahouses were removed – sweets, cigarettes, books, beer, minerals, toys, souvenirs, amusement arcade machines and fittings.’
The piers, funfair, Rock Gardens, Canoe Lake, miniature golf course and Southsea Common were closed, though some of these measures were relaxed a month later as the morale-boosting spirit of ‘business as usual’ was encouraged. - from John Sadden’s The Book of Portsmouth Days.