I am over at Watch Nonnie Write’s blog with day 4 of my While the Bombs Fell blog tour. This post is about the myth that carrots help you see in the dark which started during WW2 in Britain. Thank you, Nonnie, for hosting me with this post.
Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my fellow member-authors of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, also known as Robbie. Robbie has dropped in today to talk to us about the myths about eating carrots so let’s listen in.
Take it away, Robbie…
Carrots help you see in the dark
While the bombs fell is a collaboration between my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton, and me and tells a fictionalized account of her life as a small girl growing up in the small English town of Bungay, Suffolk during World War II.
I can remember when I was a young girl, growing up with my three younger sisters in Cape Town, South Africa, being frequently told by our mother that eating carrots make you see in the dark. I always believed that this was true and that if I ate my carrots, it would help improve my eyesight especially at nighttime.
When I was doing research for While the Bombs Fell I came across an article about a World War II propaganda campaign which popularized the myth that carrots help you see in the dark.
During the 1940 Blitz, a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom, the German bomber planes often attacked under cover of darkness. Country wide “blackouts” were enforced by the British government to make it more difficult for the attacking planes to hit their targets. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was also able to repel the German fighter planes by using their new and secret radar technology. The on-board Airborne Interception Radar (AI), which was first used by the RAF in 1939, had the ability to pinpoint German bombers before they reached the English Channel.
One RAF night fighter ace, John Cunningham, nicknamed “Cat’s Eyes” was the first English pilot to shoot down an enemy plane using AI. He racked up an impressive 20 kills of which 19 were at night. In order to keep the AI technology under wraps, the Ministry of Information apparently told newspapers that the reason for pilots like John Cunningham’s success was that they ate an excess of carrots which gave them better night vision.
Whether or not the Germans believed this tall tale is unknown, but the British public, including my mother, believed that eating carrots would give them better nighttime vision.