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Civil Defence and Air Raid Precautions (ARP)
In war time it was every civilian's duty to do their best to protect the country from enemy attacks. Every area had it's air raid warden whose job it was to make sure that people observed the blackout as well as shepherding people to shelters, organising the firewatchers and reporting on the progress of air raids when they were in progress. An air raid warden took on a lot of responsibility.

Each air raid warden had a post in a public place, protected by sandbags. Many women became wardens, as did men who were too old to be called up, or those in reserved occupations. The warden's post was a centre of communication during a raid.

Almost everyone was expected to take a turn at fire watching. When an incendiary bomb landed it would start an immediate fire which, if allowed to get out of hand, could cause major destruction. The fire watchers were responsible for putting out these fires before too much damage could be done. It did, of course, mean being out and about during an air-raid, so it was far from being a safe job. Click the player below to hear what Ivy has to say about her time as a fire watcher and mother of young children.

Photo: An Air Raid Warden at her post, ironically named the 'Hotel Ritz'
An Air Raid Wardenat her post, ironically named the "Hotel Ritz". Photograph copyright Imperial War Museum

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