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1938: Air Raid Precautions

An Air Raid Warden runs across a large pile of rubble during Civil Defence training in Fulham during 1942 (colourised image)

by Mr OF Brown ARP Organiser for Cuckfield RDC

Unless we are prepared to make some sacrifice to defend this freedom which we so enjoy and call democracy, it will pass as it has passed for ever, apparently, in other countries. Our country today has undertaken the largest peace-time rearmament policy in our history. This is purely for protection against aggression.

The aggressor has brought about a new technique that is. to swoop down suddenly upon his prey and attack ruthlessly the civil population. Fortunately for us, there is only one method by which we can be suddenly attacked. That is from the air, hence air raid precautions. These precautions have been designed to protect our civil population on lines to suit local conditions. The organization required is a very extensive one, and although it does not call for great sacrifice on the part of the local citizens, it docs require that he or she should be fully acquainted with what is being done and to read or learn all about high explosive incendiary bombs and poisonous gases.

Under the scheme of ARP worked out by the Home Office the Cuckfield Rural District Council is responsible for all arrangements for receiving information with regard to intending air raids and for giving the necessary warning to the public, the giving of instructions and advice to the public as to air raid precautions organization of air raid warnings; detection of poisonous gases; dealing with casualties, including first aid parties, first aid posts, ambulance services, etc.; clearance of debris from the highways, streets and public places and dealing with damaged or unsafe buildings, etc; protection of such premises as it will be essential to occupy and use in time of war for the maintenance of ARP service; distribution and storage of gas respirators for the public, etc; recruiting and training of such personnel as may be required for the purpose of giving the maximum protection to human life and property if at any time we arc attacked from the air.

A strong committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Isaac Rich. J.P.. with the necessary technical staff to co-ordinate all the services and gradually to bring into being the largest volunteer movement that the Cuckfield Rural District Council has ever known. The only qualification for a volunteer is that of being a good citizen and to be in direct contact with the public to lend a hand wherever needed and generally to act the |art of a good neighbour to those in distress or otherwise in need of help. I especially appeal to all ex-Service men and women to help n this great work of preserving human life. You and I have done our share of destroying life at the call of our country, and surely it is to us that our country should appeal to protect and succour helpless women and children should the occasion arise.

Mid SussexTimes, 2 August 1938

Photo: An Air Raid Warden runs across a large pile of rubble during Civil Defence training in Fulham during 1942. Wikimedia public domain image.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.



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