Newspaper article from July 1940
WOULD BE SAFEST?
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!
provide your protection and everything will be plain sailing.