The Splendid and the Vile is the story of the London Blitz, from the moment that Winston Churchill became prime minister on 10 May 1940, until the Luftwaffe raid that destroyed the parts of the House of Commons exactly one year later, coincidentally on the same night that Rudolf Hess flew to Scotland.
It was not a broadcast appeal to the nation. Nothing so vague as that for Winston S. Churchill. It was his order to the Admiralty on 20 May 1940. The Admiralty then formed the Small Vessels Pool, in which private owners registered their craft for the mission and were given routes and charts.