If War Should Come

Public Information Leaflet No 1: Some things you should know if war should come

This pamphlet warned people of the possibility of War and the precaution that the Government was taking and the steps that individuals should take to help protect themselves.

Air Raid warnings: These would be given by sirens. On hearing the siren people should take cover at once. The pamphlet emphasized that most casualties were caused by flying fragments of debris or shells rather than direct hits. If poison gas was used, the warning would be by hand rattles and people were to keep off the streets. If they were caught outside they were to put on their gas masks.

Gas Masks: Gas masks were in the process of being issued. People were advised to keep these masks in good condition ready for immediate use. If people had not received their masks it may be because that particular region had decided to keep the masks in store until an emergency was threatened.

Lighting Restrictions: All widows etc that could show a light would have to be screened during War time. Dark blinds, blankets or brown paper were suggested. Households were advised to acquire the materials they would need immediately.

Fire Precautions: People were advised that an Air attack may involve a large number of small incendiary bombs. Households were advised to clear the top floor of houses of flammable material. They were also advised that the best method to deal with an incendiary bomb was to have a bucket of water on hand with a pump capable of applying water in a fine spray (i.e. a Stirrup Pump) – just throwing water onto the bomb would cause it to explode and throw burning fragments in all directions.

Evacuation: The Government had made provisions for the voluntary evacuation of London and other large towns of school children and children below the school age if accompanied by parents or other responsible persons. Adults were reminded that if they had work to do it was their duty to remain at their posts.

Identity Label: In time of War an identity label was to be carried (showing name and address).

Food: The Government made it clear that measures were being taken to ensure food supplies and that people should not buy larger quantities of foodstuffs than they normally required. If people wanted to accumulate extra stores of non-perishable foodstuffs they should do so now and not in times of emergency.

Instructions to the Public in case of emergency: These were to be made available through the Press and Broadcast Announcements


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