Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


 Air Raid Precautions


Newspaper article from July 1940


Suggestions for Protection Against Air Raids.


It is essential in these days that the individual people of Lytham St. Annes should know exactly which spot they will seek in the event of an air raid.

When the sirens sound there should be no uncertainty. There should be none of that, “Now, which place would be safest?” Minutes are precious, and it is imperative that a decision should be reached now.

Lytham St. Annes is regarded by the Home Office as a non-vulnerable area and therefore "Anderson” or other shelters are not delivered in the district. These shelters have been proving their worth during the air raids of recent weeks and it would seem, therefore, that a shelter in the back garden, even though not an “Anderson” one is a wonderful comfort to the nervous.

The public have definitely been requested not to leave their homes for a public shelter. These communal shelters have been erected for people who are caught on the streets and have not time to get home.



Obeying this request it is essential that your home should become your safeguard against bombs, blast, fragmentation from high explosives and shell splinters. So sit down and make up your mind immediately.

There are three types of shelters— steel, concrete and brick. All three are certain safety except in the case of a big high explosive bomb making a direct hit.

The steel shelter is possibly the best, but the concrete one—it may be found difficult to obtain supplies of cement, etc., for the manufacture—has proved invaluable.

 The brick type, too, is excellent protection. This shelter should have walls 13½ inches thick, five inch thick roof of reinforced concrete and the entrance should be protected against blast either by building a brick buttress in front of the doorway or by placing the doorway in front of another building.


In all these shelters some form of emergency exit should be made and the recommended method is to make a square hole in the roof, temporarily closed by two square sheets of quarter- inch mild steel plate held together by two bolts. Should the entrance of the shelter become blocked, the bolts inside can be quickly unfastened and the trapped inmates can climb through the roof.

Failing these three shelters any handy man can erect a make-shift shelter. Collect old corrugated iron sheets, railway sleepers, two old doors and any other strong odds and ends which will stand explosives. The two old doors, placed parallel with 24 inches of earth of ballast between will give full protection against blast.

And don't forget that both the ready- made or improvised shelters require 20 inches of sand or earth at the sides, and the roof must be covered with either five inches of reinforced concrete or 15 inches of sand or dry earth.

That little mound of earth in the garden can make a deal of difference to a wife's bravery and it is, possibly, the husband's duty to ensure his wife's safety.


If shelters do not meet with the approval of the household get together and decide which particular part of, the house would be the most safe. If the walls of the house are 13½ inches solid brick or 15½ inches of brick with a two inch cavity this also is adequate protection. The house, too, may also be protected by the walls of a neighbouring building.

Now for that best spot. The cellar, of course, is the safest part of any house but be careful that it is not going to be a death trap. There should be two exits—one may get blocked up—and if there is only one make one at the opposite end to the existing opening. Make sure there are no hot water pipes, sewers, gas mains or anything else of that type which, if fractured, would endanger the lives of the persons in the cellar.

No cellar? Then the ground floor is your place. It has been found from experience that the safest place is under the stairs but watch out there is no windows nearby. Many casualties have been caused by splinters of glass.


Keep out of the way of a heavy chimney stack, lintels or ornamental stonework which is placed above the building and might tumble in with a crash.

Leave no heavy furniture in upstairs rooms and be wary of water cisterns and other heavy objects which may rock and fall through the ceiling.

Additional protection for windows and walls can be made by sandbagging, placing steel shutters in position or heavy baulks of timber. To add charm to this protection fill tea chests with earth, plant shrubs and then place in front of windows or other weak spots in the walls.

And if you want to be extra specially sure, have a false ceiling placed across the roof of your refuge room and support it with upright beams. This is necessary where there is a large ceiling space.

There are men waiting to advise you on your protection, and in the Borough a number, including three members of the St. Annes Police, have gained certificates in local A.R.P. and A.R.P. School.


Inspector W. Smith, Co-ordinating A.R.P. Officer in the Fylde, is always thinking of the welfare of everyone and he appeals to residents to stop a passing policeman or air raid warden if problems get too much for them. They will solve them or, alternatively, refer the inquirer to the experts.

But take heart! Inspector Smith says there is comfort in the knowledge that your chance of becoming a casualty in an air raid is as possible as that of winning the first prize in the Irish sweep!

As old soldiers know, if you hear bombs exploding in the distance it is much better than not hearing them at all. You don't hear the one that hits you!

Take heart, provide your protection and everything will be plain sailing.