Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A not so festive request ................ in the event of being bombed out December 1941

I cannot think how it must have felt to have sat down and planned for the unthinkable.

But across the city and across the country that was what people were being asked to do in the event that their home was destroyed by enemy action in the December of 1941.

Now the Corporation had already put out warnings about what to do in the event of an air raid, had organised the transportation of children out of the city at the outbreak of the war and administered much else to do protecting its citizens.

Earlier In the September of 1939 the Government had undertaken what amounted to a mini census which formed the basis of much war time planning from ration books and indemnity cards  to the establishment of the post war National Health Service.

And by December 1941 people will have been used to the detailed government regulations, restrictions and inquisitiveness which burrowed deep into everyday life.

Even so it must have been hard to fill in a form which told the authorities where you planned to go in the event of being bombed out.  It was the unthinkable and in its way no less awful than the one that confronted my generation about what do in the event of a nuclear strike by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

What is all the remarkable is the way that these little bits of that earlier conflict have survived, not in a museum or in an archive but in someone’s home, casually put away at the end of the war and then with the passage of the decades become part of the collection of “things” which are part of one family’s history and by extension what defines them.

So I have Jayne to thank for this document entitled “HOUSES DAMAGED BY ENEMY ACTION, MUTUAL AID BILLETING ARRANGEMENTS.”

It fell through the door on December 1941 a full year after our Christmas Blitz, but having filled in the form was never sent off, I suspect because there was no one that they could go and stay with.


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