Civil Roles: Invasion conditions

The principal roles of the various services in times of emergency / invasion were as follows:

Police / Justice:

• Principal role of police in times of invasion would be: Control of traffic (e.g. immobilizations, restrictions of traffic on roads), enforce ‘Stand Firm’ policy, detecting subversive and treacherous activities and enforcing any measures directed by the Regional Commissioner in times of invasion.
• Special War Zone Courts set up to administer justice in times of invasion / emergency.

Fire Brigade:

• The National Fire Service primary role in invasion would be to deal with fires threatening key military routes and buildings. Arrangements were made with the Military that at a certain stage of invasion the National Fire Service would take up invasion dispositions – however it would still be expected to carry out its ‘Stand Firm’ role.

Local Government / Utility Services and Civil Defence Services:

• Civil Defence Services (ARP wardens, First Aid, Rescue Party, Decontamination, Report and Control, Fire Guards) - Expected to ‘Stand Firm’ with the civil population, however if there was a conflict between military and civil requirements, military requirements would take priority.

• Medical – during an invasion military and civilian medical arrangements would be pooled.

• Air Raid Shelter (Responsible Authority: Local Authority Engineer) - provisions made for public shelters in larger urban areas ; in addition, especially in parishes, slit trenches to be encouraged.

• Water – in invasion conditions, mains water supply may be cut off unexpectedly. Public to be advised to fill baths etc as reserve water supply or establish alternative supplies (e.g. wells) in times of emergency.

• Food (Responsible Authority: Ministry of Food local Food Executive Officer)– country was divided into over one hundred zones in which adequate supplies of food were held. In addition a special reserve was placed in ‘vulnerable areas’ (of which Suffolk was one). Supply and distribution of food in larger urban areas was the responsibility of the local Executive Food Officer. In smaller communities this role would be filled by a voluntary food orgainiser.

• Agriculture (Responsible Authority: County War Agriculture Executive Committee) - food production to carry on as normal; crops and livestock not to be destroyed unless ordered by the military.

• Public Utility Services (gas, electricity, water) – to ‘Stand Firm’ with the civil population.

• Provision for Homeless (Responsible Authority: Local Authority Public Assistance and Billeting Officers) – provision for the homeless (as a result of being ‘bombed out’, buildings requisitioned by military for defence posts and buildings destroyed by fighting) would have to be found. Rest centers established by County and County Borough Councils for temporary shelter and food in every town or village of any size. Billeting arrangements also to made. In rural areas, Invasion Committee to make arrangements.

• Labour (Responsible Authority: Ministry of Works, Ministry of Labour, Local Authority Engineers) – in an invasion, labour would be needed to clear debris, construct defences, assist in repair work to essential services and assist in civilian tasks such as digging slit trenches, emergency latrines and graves. In larger urban centers, Local Authority to keep a register of persons able and willing to undertake such work. In smaller communities, the Invasion Committee should keep such a register.

• Information (Responsible Authority: local representative of Ministry of Information) - In times of invasion, Regional Commissioner has power to issue a Direction that only official notices to be displayed. Emergency / Invasion Committees to ensure public are familiar with official notice sites.

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