Air Raid Wardens

People recall the ARP Wardens in Letcworth

Letchworth Air Raid Wardens

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

This page was added on 18/06/2010.

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  • The man in the second row from the front, third from the left, is my grandfather Thomas Tooke. He was the Head Warden, responsible for the half of Letchworth east of the railway line.

    By Peter Tooke (10/12/2013)
  • I have been researching my family tree and have come across a copy of this photo at home. My Granddad (John Gallagher) is the tall chap standing with his hands behind his back on the very far right. If anyone else knows someone in this photo why not post it here. It would be great to know who they were.

    By Mike Gallagher (11/07/2012)