Air Raid Wardens
People recall the ARP Wardens in Letcworth
Suddenly the sirens sounded for the first time. We than witnessed a spectacle I shall never forget. Our Air Raid Warden (newly appointed) appeared complete with his APP equipment – a large tin hat a size too big and almost covering up his eyes, his armband, waterproof jacket, gas mask – and blowing his whistle. He ran up and down Haselfoot shouting ‘take cover – take cover’. This brought all the neighbours out into their front gardens to witness this unusual event in an otherwise quiet Sunday tranquil setting! He urged the neighbours to take cover – but everyone was too intent gazing up into the sky looking for the bombers expected to appear at any minute.
The Warden instructed the neighbours who had been allocated fire-watch duties to produce their stirrup pumps, buckets of water and sand and to stand by for his further instructions. This the neighbours did – in great good humour! The Warden was so exhausted after his several runs up and down the hill that he dropped a bucket of sand on his foot. Surely one of Letchworth’s first war casualties! My last memory that day was of him collapsed in a chair nursing his foot and surrounded by helpful neighbours all assuring him that the next time the siren sounds they really would take cover!
extract from “Letchworth Remembered” – memories of Letchworth 1939 to 1960