Blitz memorabilia

ACAB

LE
My dad was a fire watcher in the Clyde dockyards during the Blitz as a 14 year old. He recalled seeing quite a few fatalities in the aftermath of raids as he walked home, some without a mark on them.

Hell of a thing for a young lad to go through.
Overpressure.
 
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RangdoOfArg

LE
Book Reviewer
Carlisle and Gretna where the pubs were state run for that very reason

Worth reading up about, there were some seriously good pubs built by the state
IIRC some Carlisle pubs were state-owned until the 1970s
Among the first to insist on women’s rooms, coffee (booze-free) rooms etc.
Ahead of their time, in lots of ways.
 
The unit pictureds looks like a mobile LAA unit. In the build-up to D-Day the US forces would have had a lot of kit and trained personnel available for use.
Some US Servicemen were in the thick of things during the V1/V2 attacks especially in SE London.
Here's a newsreel of US Naval Personnel from the local dockyard/victualling assisting in the searching for survivors/bodies and clearing up in the aftermath of a V1 explosion.

US Servicemen aiding after V1 attack
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Definitely US. I remember seeing that photo a few years back, with the caption suggesting it was 1944 / pre-D-Day with the US providing additional anti-aircraft defences to defeat raiders / reconnaissance.

The bomb map has been reproduced in many publications, but came originally from "Plymouth Blitz: The story of the raids", a Western Morning News pamphlet from just after the end of the war - looking at my grandparent's copy at the moment. For those interested in Guzz history, there are a couple of good groups on Facebook: Plymouth Old Pics (Plymouth old pics) and Cyberheritage (https://www.facebook.com/groups/593101770841024/user/100000086852357), the latter being a follow on from a website that prides itself on "content over style": Cyberheritage,Plymouth History,Naval and Military History,Victorians and Edwardians,Royal Navy and Submarines

On the Cyberheritage FB page, there are a number of videoed history walks, looking at modern clues of Blitz damage.

Had a quick look and will get a higher resolution version later but it seems there was a bomb next to my old junior school at Honicknowle, another near Widey Tech my senior school and one right at the end of Pier Street next to the house where I had a flat as an 18 year old. Where do I claim my compensation because if it wasn't for the timing I could have been almost certainly maybe possibly have been killed three times!
 

RangdoOfArg

LE
Book Reviewer
Some US Servicemen were in the thick of things during the V1/V2 attacks especially in SE London.
Here's a newsreel of US Naval Personnel from the local dockyard/victualling assisting in the searching for survivors/bodies and clearing up in the aftermath of a V1 explosion.

US Servicemen aiding after V1 attack
I think the most bombed place using V2 was Antwerp.
V1 hit SE London quite bad. Mrs R has letters from her great-Aunt describing them.
 
I always liked this, service, and leading by example during hard times.

 
MOD sites still have large EWS in them. In sites awaiting disposal they’re a nightmare (see the old RPC depot in Northampton where two kids broke in to go swimming - both drowned and MOD vicariously liable).

Of course for that authentic Cold War feel, you need one of these:

View attachment 630055
we'd pump some of ours out every year given the shit people dumped in them, in the best ways of the RAF when they buiit the hard aircraft shelters they put open ews tanks in the site then planted trees everywhere, so we could not the fire engines near enough to use and the trees and "ponds" made ideal homes for ducks resulting in bird strikes
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Gretna. Site of a massive ammunition factory during the First Unpleasantness. No laid down pub opening/closing times. Workers turned up drunk.

BANG!

Defence of the Realm Act lays down pub opening/closing times
until The Blair decides a cafe culture and relaxed opening/closing times won't in any way lead to a drunken yob culture.

Recounted from memory without consulting my Google-fu, so details may be in error or omitted.


My bold indeed hence the state took over some breweries & pubs in the wider area ..

snip "The State Management Scheme was the nationalisation of the brewing, distribution and sale of liquor in three districts of the United Kingdom from 1916 until 1973.[1] The main focus of the scheme, now commonly known as the Carlisle Experiment, was Carlisle and the surrounding district close to the armament factories at Gretna, founded in 1916 to supply explosives and shells to the British Army in the First World War. However, there were three schemes in total: Carlisle and Gretna, Cromarty Firth, and Enfield
A central pillar of the scheme was the ethos of disinterested management: public house managers had no incentive to sell liquor, which supported the aim of reducing drunkenness and its effects on the arms industry. From 1916 to 1919 the scheme had a "no treating" policy, forbidding the buying of rounds of drinks."
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
MOD sites still have large EWS in them. In sites awaiting disposal they’re a nightmare (see the old RPC depot in Northampton where two kids broke in to go swimming - both drowned and MOD vicariously liable).

Of course for that authentic Cold War feel, you need one of these:

View attachment 630055
Mexe shelter
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
The boy’s school topic this term is the Blitz. Over the years I have collected up a few bits and pieces of Blitz memorabilia, more by accident than through any real effort.

As a born and bred Londoner, this has always been a topic of great interest to me. My best friend at primary school had an original Anderson Shelter in his garden and it was the best play den ever. Most of the roads I’ve lived in have subtle signs of Blitz damage, with newer houses strangely erected between rows of Victorian terraces. I always found this fascinating.

I also have a great great uncle who was an AFS (and later NFS) firefighter based at Beckenham. He survived the Blitz but was tragically killed in a bizarre PT accident in 1942. His name is on the Blitz firefighter’s memorial outside St Paul’s. Beckenham firefighters were based at the Old Palace School which took a direct hit during the Blitz, killing 34 people (still the biggest loss of UK firefighters in a single incident). It’s almost certain that he would’ve been involved in this incident, either losing oppos in the blast and / or being involved in the cleanup. I would be very interested to know more about his NFS service. Do the fire brigade have service records like the military? Anyone know where they would be available?

In my continual quest to be the most epic dad on the planet, I’m helping the boy with a little research on our relative and on the bits and pieces below so he can take them to school for a bit of show and tell.

The ARP box, gas rattle and Zuckerman helmet all came from my grandmother’s house. They weren’t originally her’s, she just hoarded things and probably found these in a skip. She was a bit of a loon and quite deaf. In later life she would wear the Zuckerman helmet while watching TV because she thought it amplified the sound. The gas rattle has “A.R.P W. Clements & Sons 1939” stamped on it but some of the letters have faded. The P on ARP is gone and the 9 from 39 looks like a zero.

The warden’s report form came from my grandfather. He was a teenager during the Blitz and a member of the Air Training Corps. I’m guessing the ATC may have acted as runners or something? Not sure why he would’ve had this form otherwise. To be honest I can’t be 100% sure it is even from the Blitz. He did his National service in Palestine just after the war and it could be from then. He was also somewhat of a hoarder and kept every single piece of paper from his service, including NAAFI receipts for boot polish.

Just a thread for general interest really, but I’d be interested in any additional info anyone can provide on the items and any Blitz stories you may have that will interest an 11 year old.

Also does anyone know what HFP stands for on the helmet? I’ve seen them before with SFP but HFP seems rarer. I’m assuming it’s “something” Fire Patrol. My grandmother was from Hampstead and that’s probably where she found the helmet. Hampstead Fire Patrol maybe?

View attachment 629947View attachment 629948View attachment 629949View attachment 629953
Whatever you do with the bits do not let that gas rattle out of your sight!
Valued at well over £100 each I tried to get football rattles for our beaters and had to buy modern reproduction ones that are crap
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Gretna. Site of a massive ammunition factory during the First Unpleasantness. No laid down pub opening/closing times. Workers turned up drunk.

BANG!

Defence of the Realm Act lays down pub opening/closing times until The Blair decides a cafe culture and relaxed opening/closing times won't in any way lead to a drunken yob culture.

Recounted from memory without consulting my Google-fu, so details may be in error or omitted.
Now the site of two munitions factories:



The latter is effectively closed, the former is not.

Interestingly, loads of munitions factories blew up in WW1 - Gretna, Chilwell, Silvertown, Faversham etc
 
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One in Hereford (now Rotherwas ind. est.) from WW1 which was bombed in WW2;


There is a grave in St Peter's Church in nearby Bullinghope where the register just says "limbs"

I was part of the appeal to remark and dedicate the munition worker's graves a couple of years ago which they thought were related to the WW2 raid.

 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Whatever you do with the bits do not let that gas rattle out of your sight!
Valued at well over £100 each I tried to get football rattles for our beaters and had to buy modern reproduction ones that are crap
I have used it for beating a few times actually. Very effective especially at getting the ducks out of bed.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Yes, a still from a film held by the IWM of an Artists exercise .
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It's the amusingly named 'missile trap' that I like - very effective I'm sure:

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