October 9, 2013

A.R.P.

AIR RAID PRECAUTIONS

MARCH, 1938

The following people were recommended to be Brandon’s Air Raid Wardens …
Rodney C Rought-Rought -Heath House, Brandon
Cecil E Osborne – 51, High Street
John Mills – 74, High Street
Stanley R Hunt – 53, High Street
Isaac F Mills – 120, London Road
Frank R Green – 91, London Road
William B Wood – 80, London Road
Frederick G Carter – 6, Church End
Alexander J Rolph – 137, London Road
Cyril J Hammond – 222, London Road

May, 1938

Further names were added …
William Arthur Brearley – The Avenue, Brandon
Percy Steggles – Thetford Road
A Gascoigne – Thetford Road
Sidney Chapman – Flint Hall, Brandon
Charles Harvey – 122, London Road
Edward Elmer – Mill Hill, Thetford Road
Bert Kidd – 2, Manor Road, Brandon
Stanley Lingwood – Manor Road
Head Warden = Herbert Edwards, The Flintknappers Inn, Brandon

July, 1938

More men …
Edward, W Stebbing
Richard B Clarke
Harry, Ernest Boughen
Victor, Robert Edwards

 August 1939

THE GREAT BLACKOUT FOR THE R.A.F. EXERCISES – Following the huge Air Raid Precautions event taken across the region, Brandon was given a verdict of “very satisfactory” by all five umpires for responding so well to the four ‘incidents’ undertaken in the town, and particular praised was directed to Mr R.J. Woodrow who is the Parish Organiser. The exercises centred around a scenario where fictional enemy aircraft were intercepted by the R.A.F. and dumped their bomb loads on the town to escape quickly.

  • At the 1st incident was umpire Mr J Moore and he handed the A.R.P. wardens a sealed envelope with instructions that a wall had collapsed and had caused two casualties. This was the result of a High Explosive bomb exploding at the rear of the Flintknappers and this was simulated by the release of fireworks to simulate the explosion. The utility squads extracted the casualties.
  • At the 2nd incident a non-persistent gas bomb had exploded at the home of Mr H Mills and had caused four casualties suffering from the effects of gas inhalation. Here the umpire was Captain W.B. Wood.
  • The 3rd incident saw an incendiary bomb landing on a house and setting fire to the entire row of houses along Rattlers Road, and this was simulated by setting fire to a heap of bramble wood. The Brandon Fire Brigade, led by Captain B Olley, who were very quick on the scene and extinguished the fire, although three casualties had to be attended to. The umpire was Mr C Holmes.
  • The 4th incident centred a house near the Maltings that had been struck by a High Explosive bomb and been demolished. Again the utility squads attended and rescued three casualties from the debris. The umpire was Mr J Miles, and the medical umpire was Dr E.V. Beaumont.

There were twelve ‘casualties’, who taken from the scene by Brandon Ambulance, Messrs Lingwood with their lorry, which was driven by Mr C Field, and various private cars, including those belonging to Messrs Holmes & Sons, Mr S Chapman and Mr Wentworth-Smith.

Leading the response to the incidents were the A.R.P. wardens who held their Headquarters at the Flintknappers Hotel. Chief Warden – Mr H Edwards, Parish Organiser – Mr R.J. Woodrow.  The Red Cross Headquarters was positioned at the Paget Hall and was led by Mrs Wentworth-Smith and Mr Edwards, and the Utility Squad, led by Mr F Holmes, held its Headquarters at Mr F Froud’s shop.  Also involved were twelve Special Constables, led by Dept. Section Leader B.A.M. Lingwood, who were on duty from 11.30pm to ensure that all lights were extinguished and the black out was observed across the town. Police Sergeant Adams and Police Constable Smith were also on duty throughout the exercise. Captain J.A. Whitaker travelled the Brandon district, including Lakenheath and Elveden, to observe the black out outside of the town.

The Parish Council members attended the ‘incidents’ by special invitation and later sat at the Paget Hall where the Chairman, Mr H Lingwood, congratulated all concerned on the smoothness of the exercise.

Incidentally, Thetford did not take an active part of this huge exercise that was undertaken across the region.

R.A.F. Exercise – The whole of West Suffolk was blacked out on the night of 9th/10th August 1939 between midnight and 4am for the purposes of an RAF exercise.

OCTOBER 1939

Mr R.J. Woodrow, Parish Air Raid Precautions organiser, has stated that no A.R.P. worker or Special Police Constable has received any pay so far.

NOVEMBER 1939

AIR RAID SIREN – At 1pm on the first Sunday of each month, air raid sirens will be tested to ensure they are in good working order.  The test will commence with the sounding of a steady note for thirty seconds, followed immediately by not more than twenty five seconds of the ‘Action Warning Signal’, and concluding with a steady note for one minute.

Brandon’s first siren test took place in December and the siren was situated on the roof of the Police Station, along London Road.

APRIL 1940

A.R.P. EXERCISE – A large scale Air Raid Precautions exercise was carried out in Brandon and three West Suffolk A.R.P. officials were in attendance.

  • Mr Reginald J. Woodrow, Brandon Parish A.R.P. Organiser and his staff held their Headquarters at the clubroom in the Flintknappers. Also assisting in carrying out the exercise were Mr Herbert Edwards (Chief Warden), Mrs H Wentworth-Smith (Women’s Red Cross) and Mr B Olley (men’s Red Cross), and the latter held their Headquarters in the Old School House. Police Sergeant J.A. Adams and Police Constable L Johnson were on duty throughout. The exercise was to see how reporting of incidents was undertaken and observing the treatment of casualties.
  • 1st incident – at the Fox and Hounds pub, Thetford Road. Two casualties reported, caused by anti-aircraft splinters.
  • 2nd incident – at the back of the Ram Hotel where a high explosive bomb had detonated and caused five casualties.
  • 3rd incident – an unexploded bomb had been reported in ground just west of Mile End, Brandon.

After the exercise, Mr Creese (County Organiser A.R.P.) claimed he was very impressed with the common sense and co-ordination of those involved and Dr Roger (County Medical Officer) said the First Aid given was excellent. They were both pleased with the spirit of the A.R.P. in Brandon.