A week or so ago I raised the somewhat vexed question here of the number and effects of air raids over our area during the Second World War, and asked what readers knew, and the things they had heard.
Well, I had an excellent response to that, and I’m still after more, so please do pop back to that post and check it out. Blog readers have been busy on related material, and hopefully when this busy spell passes I can get some of that material up on the blog.
Meantimes, there’s this wonderful piece of Second World War ephemera supplied by the wonderful Reg Fullelove, via the dogged and dedicated young David Evans, who’s been mining a whole bunch of great stuff lately.
David went to chat with Reg, who donated a wonderful booklet – a manual for the civilian air raid warden – which has been scanned in full and made available for download at the foot of this post.
David explains how Reg came to have the manual in his collection:
The Air Raid Warden
Another enjoyable afternoon chat with blog contributor Mr. Reg Fullelove BEM who had kindly offered these artefacts from World War 2. Reg’s father, David was an Air Raid Warden in Brownhills during the conflict, and this is the medal he received after the war had ended. The box in which it was posted is equally intersting..On His Majesty’s serivce, is intact and bears David Fullelove’s address in Browonhills.
It was quite a poignant moment for me when I saw this medal, as my father had been an Air Raid Warden locally, and, with the passing of time his medal had gone.
The other artefact is the little pocket-sized handbook, .
I would like to thank Reg for his ongoing generosity and kindness.
You can download the whole booklet in PDF form from the link below:
The Duties of an Air Raid Warden – PDF format – 4 megabytes
If you have anything to add, please do: you know the (air raid) drill: comment here, or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers, and my undying thanks to Reg for being such a top bloke and contributor. A most generous, kind hearted and fascinating gentleman.
Thanks to Reg, David and Bob.
The booklet raise a few questions!
Page 14 of air raid handbook….
….Message sent from national centre to pre-arranged local recipients…preliminary caution of raid in next 15 minutes, wardens to go on duty….issued long before the raiders intentions are known.
….If raiders continue to approach the district the Action Warning is sent, raid possibly in 5 to 10 mins. Raiders may pass and drop bombs elsewhere. Public must take precautions…..warning to people still out of doors.
Page 17….directly a bomb has dropped….report position to HQ….
…if a bomb falls but fails to explode, its position should be reported at once, and people in adjacent premises should be warned to leave, and the neighbourhood of the bomb kept clear.
In his book Birmingham at War Alton Douglas says that Birmingham was on the route for Coventry, Manchester and Liverpool and the siren was sounded 367 times and only 77 would prove needed.
Given the importance that many attach to Norton Pool how many Action warnings were acted on in the district?
Why were some walking about Norton Pool in the moonlight counting the number of bombs being dropped from an aircraft?
Given the documentation required, why is there a lack of reported evidence of the bombs that were other than incendiaries?
My mom used to talk about the raids on Coventry. She lived in Chase Terrace at the time and said you could see the German bombers forming up over Norton Pool (Chasewater). One night as a bomber jettisoned its undelivered bombs in Norton Pool (I have spoken to divers who have seen large craters on the bed) an incendiary bomb landed in their front garden. They had to run outside and smother it with sandbags. She said that on some nights, particularly the Coventry raids, but also Birmingham raids, the glow would light up the night sky.
They’d clearly gone by the time this aerial survey was taken in 2010.
Curious about this.
p.s. My dad was with the 8th army in the Middle East at the time. It must have been terrifying for her at times while she lived with my nan, grandad and her younger sister.
My Dad was an Air Raid Warden. I was only a nipper but I don’t recall seeing the medal. I may have seen the book.
so many stories of the night the bombs fell tailes of tyers logs oil placed on norton pool all memouries retold and cannot be verified because all those who took part have sadly passed on came the day ihad to clear out my late fathers house in a dusty old cupboard i found his souvenears of the night of the the raid they were the fins and parts of incendery bombs i contacted the police who verified they were harmless and took the away for disposal i remember rhe day following the raid going up church hill to see behind maidlings shop acrater about ten foot wide believied to be a bomb or shell yes this was the night the war came to brownhils in my mind by a lone german n bomber i pray it never happens again for we are care takers of our futour world god bless
To get some idea of the number of devices dropped on Staffs.
On the stand down of the Civil Defence of Staffs in August 1945, upwards of one thousand people from all over Staffs gathered at Lichfield….
“….Though their great industrial areas presented a vulnerable target to the enemy, they providentially escaped much that they had to be prepared to face, and they should not forget that their civilian casualties, due to enemy action, cost them, alas, 79 killed and 251 injured, as the result of some 1,165 bombs and mines and over 22,400 incendiaries. On many occasions they rendered mutual aid to their neighbours, and further afield at Birmingham and Coventry. Thirty-five wardens went to London during part of the flying bomb attacks…”
Just how the Germans managed to navigate when Norton pool was unavailable can be seen here…
….However, analysis of KGr 100 raids revealed that the new jammers were not having a significant impact on the accuracy of their bombing, which for the time was still remarkably good. After the notorious raid on Coventry, X-Gerate units were recovered from a crashed KGr 100 Heinkel. To their horror, the analysts discovered that the modulation frequency used on X-Gerate was 2kHz. This new modulation frequency had previously been incorrectly measured as 1500Hz