1938: Them things is no good to me

Have Sussex people sleepy minds ? I ask the question because not a third of them seem to have properly awakened to the fact that they ought to get fully acquainted with ARP

work. No one wants to ‘put the wind up’ Tom, Dick, Harry, Sarah or Mary Ann, but I do not think the Government would keep the ARP Organisers at their posts if there was nothing to fear!


Supposing the Prime Minister’s interviews with Hitler had not staved off war, and England had been attacked from the air, there are thousands of people in Sussex who would not have had the faintest idea what to do for self-protection.


It Is all very well to say ‘Mid-Sussex is out of the danger zone; we won’t be attacked.’ You never can tell. Too often in life it is the unexpected that happens. Therefore it would pay you to obtain and study the official publications on Air Raid Precautions. The ARP Organizers in Mid-Sussex are: Mr LH Merry (Cuckfield and Burgess Hill urban areas) and Mr OP Brown (Cuckfield rural area). The offices of both are at Haywards Heath.


‘What can I do?’ is a reasonable question. Well, if you are a male, you can link up with the auxiliary fire service, become a stretcher bearer, an air raid warden or join the contamination squad or rescue party. Women can become ambulance drivers and attendants - work requiring skill, courage and endurance. Then there is first aid work. There is no age limit in this service, but the volunteers must be trained efficiently. All training is provided free.


I am told that one dear old soul who went to get fitted for a gas musk shook her head and said ‘Them things is no good to me. I’ve no gas in my house! I've got electric light.’


Another old lady, looking at a gas mask, declared that she ‘did not want one of those horrid-looking things.’ She preferred the mask she concocted for herself during the Great War. What do you think it was made of - tied flannel, with tapes on each side to tie round her head.


Mid Sussex Times, 18 October 1938


Poster is a Wikimedia public domain image.


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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