Lothingland RDC 1938-40

1938 - 1939

On June 10th 1938, two representatives from the Air Raid Precautions Committee (ARPC) attended a conference in Ipswich, organized by East Suffolk County Council, to consider the setting up of Air Raid Precautions. Actions for the District Council were to:

  • Write to the parishes that had not yet sent in their returns of volunteers for the various services and suggesting they hold parish meetings to enable the return to be made as soon as possible.
  • The Medical officer was to consider the returns so far in relation to First Aid Posts with a view to preparing a list of equipment required at the Posts and the cost of any alterations to buildings.
  • The Clerk to approach doctors at Kessingland and Wrentham with a view to organizing First Aid classes for parishes in their area.
  • The Clerk to approach the Lowestoft Doctor with a view to holding First Aid classes for parishes on the north side of the Council’s district.
  • The Clerk to write to the Home Office outlining the situation with water supply and whether any financial assistance would be available to the Council in the provision of Fire Fighting equipment including chemical appliances in the small areas where there was difficulty in the provision of water supplies.
    • The situation of First Aid Posts was again considered on July 18th by the ARPC. It was resolved to approach Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Southwold Town Councils to see if any part of the Council’s District could be served by them for First Aid. It was also agreed that 300 First Aid Outfits and 50 Surgical Outfits be requisitioned for. It was reported that doctors at Wrentham had agreed to hold First Aid Classes but the doctors at Kessingland required more information before making a decision. It was resolved that the Clerk would write to the Kessingland doctors stating that the classes should cover First Aid and Gas and the course to consist of 12 lectures.

      On Sept 27th the District Council appointed an Air Raid Precautions Officer in line with a recommendation from the County Council that a member of the District Council’s staff be responsible for Air Raid Precaution Duties. First Aid Points were considered and it was agreed that the Council approve the positions of First Aid Points suggested by Parishes and that the Air Raid Precautions Officer fix the position in those parishes that had not replied. It was also agreed to provide a stretcher and First Aid Outfit to each First Aid post. The Council was also notified as from January 1939 it would become a Fire Brigade Authority.

      On Dec 8th the current situation for Air Raid Precautions was outlined to the ARPC. East Suffolk Council was responsible as the Scheme Making Authority and would co-ordinate the Schemes of the Districts. The District Council was responsible for the enrolling and training of personnel for the First Aid Services, The Mobile Ambulance, Utility Squads, Messengers and the Auxiliary Fire Service. When these organizations were complete, the Chief Wardens would be responsible for exercising them and in the case of a National Emergency would take over control. The Medical Officer reported that 18 First Aid Points had been selected in the District as part of the County Medical Officer’s scheme. Two vehicles had been chosen for ambulances and these would cover the District as far as Kessingland. Two Mobile Parties were also allowed for the same area and would be based at Oulton with Laurel farm suggested as a suitable location. The Air Raid Precautions Officer reported difficulty in organizing Gas Training due to the difficulty in getting hold of the necessary Instructor’s equipment. The County Council recommended Gas Training and First Aid training for the Utility Squads. However Gas Training could not take part until the difficulty in obtaining Instructor’s equipment had been resolved.

      By February 15th 1939, the ARPC was able to state that First Aid Training had been completed and there were sufficient personnel to man the First Aid Points. Gas Training would also be complete by Feb 28th except for at Kessingland, as the County Council had made sufficient Instructor’s equipment available. The District Council was also responsible for training Wardens in First Aid.

      During the meeting of the ARPC on Mar 25th, the Medical Officer was able to report he had made arrangements for the First Aid training of about 250 Wardens. The arrangements for holding a “Black-out” on April 15th and 16th were also discussed. In light of the change in Government policy on Air Raid Precautions in rural areas, the County Council had informed the District Council that it could not meet the expenses for the provision of Ambulances and Mobile Services although it would still be pleased if these services could still be provided. The Council resolved to still provide three ambulances and three Mobile Parties. The discussion of the provision of stretchers for the Parishes was also discussed. The District Council agreed it would purchase a bulk lot of stretchers if the Parishes agreed to purchase them from the Council for their own use.

      On Apr 21st, the Air Raid Precautions Officer stated that the “Black-out” exercise had worked well with only a few minor exceptions which would be taken up with the Chief Constable. The question of Fire Fighting appliances was also considered and the Committee agreed to apply to the Home Office for a manual pump to be provided to each village with a population of 400 or more.

      A meeting was also held by the Emergency Committee (EC) on Apr 21st. It was reported that the Home Office had requested that priority be given over the next three months for Civil Defence over other business of the Authority and that sufficient staff should be made available for accelerating measures already in place and for the additional work that would be required by the new 1939 Civil Defence Act.

      On Sept 8th, the Committee discussed correspondence received from the Under Secretary for Mines regarding a proposed scheme fro the rationing of coal, gas and electricity by domestic and small industry consumers. The scheme required the appointment of a Fuel Overseer to be appointed, on a voluntary basis until the scheme became active. The Committee also resolved to set up a “Fuel Control Committee” consisting of representatives of local coal merchants, Lowestoft Water and Gas Company, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Corporation and various other individuals.

      A Fire Brigade scheme was also discussed, which had been drafted by Lowestoft Town Council and approved by Great Yarmouth Town Council and had been sent to Southwold Town Council for approval. The agreement suggested that Yarmouth should protect the north of the district, Southwold the area transferred from the late Blything Council and Lowestoft the remainder of the district. The Home Office had agreed to allocate the District Council with one light trailer, two two-man manual trailers and 10 stirrup pumps.

      Equipment for Fire Fighting sanctioned by the Home Office began to arrive towards the end of the year. The light Fire Trailer, to be kept at Kessingland, had been delivered but a car was needed to tow it and transport the Fire Party. An offer had been received to purchase a 14 hp Talbot car, adapted to tow the trailer and carry the necessary equipment and crew for £30, which the Committee decided to accept.

      On Oct 26th, the Committee discussed a problem that had arisen with the Government’s Evacuation Scheme. A resident of The Street, Lound had two children billeted with her, with her agreement at first. However she became fed up with the ‘dirty’ habits of the children and she had appealed to have them removed. She was informed that she must continue to billet the children until her appeal was heard. However she then refused access to the children to her cottage and despite the local Police Constable warning her of severe penalties if the children were not accommodated, she informed the Police Constable she would prefer prison to keeping the evacuees. In the end the Billeting Officer found other accommodation while her case was referred, and the Committee resolved to impress on the local population that although billeting may involve some unpleasantness in some cases, the Council was compelled to carry out the compulsory orders of the Government.

      Correspondence was discussed during the Dec 21st meeting regarding mortuary accommodation in the event of enemy action. Lowestoft Town Council had been asked if their mortuary could be used by the District in the event of enemy action, however they had refused stating that there was not enough room. It was resolved to consider the matter further and write to the various Parishes within the district to enquire if they had suitable buildings that could be used if required.


      Mortuary Accommodation

      The Clerk, during the meeting of Feb 22nd, was able to report offers for mortuary accommodation had been received from seven Parish Councils. Mortuary facilities were again considered during the meeting of Jun 27th – Lowestoft was still refusing to let the District Council use its mortuary for civilian deaths as a result of air raids. It was resolved to use the Council’s depot at Oulton Broad as a mortuary and other temporary mortuaries in Parishes which had offered the use of buildings for such a purpose.

      Fire Fighting

      On 14th March Fire Fighting was again discussed. The District Council had received an estimate from the Lowestoft Water and Gas Company for the provision of 13 Hydrants for the parishes of Bluderston, Carlton Colville and Corton for £185. 10s. –d. The Ministry of Health was prepared to sanction the expenditure as “Capital Expenditure” subject to the approval of the Home Office. It was also proposed to buy two standpipes for Kessingland.

      Fire Fighting again occupied the Committee on Jun 3rd. It was decided to purchase uniforms for the Auxiliary Fire Brigade. As well it was decided to purchase an additional eight standpipes and to provide extra hydrants for the Sole Bay Estate and Lowestoft Road, Reydon and at the Rectory, Kessingland. Six 150 galvanized gallon tanks were also to be purchased for the use of the manual pumps provided by the Home Office. The question of transporting the manual pumps was raised with the Home Office, who suggested hiring a builder’s hand cart, motorcycle and sidecar or a car if possible.

      By mid-June the Council had decided to provide its own Fire brigade Services although Lowestoft Town Council agreed to continue to provide cover for the north of the District until the end of September (later extended to December 1940). As a result a list of equipment needed, not to exceed £1,000, was drawn up in order to service the District’s Fire Brigade Scheme. The Home Office indicated that it would provide an extra trailer pump and 16 stirrup pumps for the protection of crops. At the end of August, the Ministry of Home Security informed the Council that it had purchased a large number of stirrup pumps with a view to their sale through local authorities at £1 and inviting local authorities to undertake the sale of the pumps. The Council decided to order 30 pumps.


      On April 14th, the question of the salvage of waste materials was discussed. The Committee received a report from Mrs Gambling who had attended a WVS Conference held in Cambridge. She reported that the WVS was willing to take on the following roles:

      • Distribute leaflets, prepared by the Council, to every household in the District.
      • Arrange collection and transport of waste materials from households to the designated collection point in each parish.
      • Sorting and classification of the waste.
      • Making enquires for the location of suitable collection points in each Parish.
        • With regards to the collection and transport of waste materials, the Committee decided to ask the County Council to what extent they would be able to co-operate with t he scheme, especially in the form of the provision of transport to collect the material. It was also resolved to approach certain merchants if they would purchase the materials and on what terms. The Committee also decided to extend the scheme to waste iron on farms and garages and to see if farmers and garage owners would be willing to allow the Council to collect it.

          Although the District Council had decided to organize the collection of waste material with the WVS, some Parishes had already made their own arrangements. For example Reydon had decided to operate the scheme with a Contractor and Hopton Parish Council reported that the Royal British Legion were planning to operate a similar scheme in their Parish! The Countess of Stradbroke had stated there was a collection of scrap at Henham Hall and enquired how it was to be removed.


          On Jun 3rd, the Billeting Officer reported that instructions had been received on May 27th by the Ministry of Health to re-evacuate the London children on Jun2nd. This had been carried out, the reception area being Southam Rural District in the County of Warwickshire. In all 197 children and 24 adults had been billeted in the Council’s area.

          Air Raid Shelters

          Air raid shelters were discussed on the meeting of Jun 17th. Suffolk County Council had indicated that the Ministry of Home Security was willing to provide Air Raid Shelters for persons caught in the streets during a raid within the more thickly populated areas. The District Council was invited to suggest suitable locations and the number of persons for whom accommodation would be required. The District Council agreed to accept any surplus Anderson Shelters from Lowestoft provided the County Council draw up a scheme for the provision of Communal shelters. However there was delay in ascertaining the number of spare Anderson Shelters from Lowestoft meaning that little progress on the provision of Air Raid shelters was made up to September.

          With regards to the larger parishes, a number of Anderson Shelters were available if erected in small blocks at selected points, which would provide suitable shelter for people caught out in the streets during air raids. On 9th September the Council discussed replies form Parishes with reference to the provision of shelters, and along with the population figures of 1931 made the following allocation of 150 Anderson Shelters:

          Barnby 1; Belton 12; Blundeston 10; Burgh Castle 7; Carlton Colville 16; Corton 10; Flixton 1; Fritton 3; Henham 2; Hopton 6; Kessingland 24; Lound 5;
          Mutford 6; Oulton 4; Reydon 20; Somerleyton 10; Wangford 3; Wrentham 10.


          The minutes of the various Committees dealing with Civil Defence and Air Raid Precautions are few and far between from the end of December 1940. The only minute of interest up to the end of the War was form a meeting of the Salvage Committee on Oct 28th 1941 with regards to the salvage of steel and iron railings for use in iron and steel works and foundries in light of recent instructions from the Ministry of Supply. The Council was required to carry out a survey and produce a register of unnecessary railings within the District. The following railings would be exempt from the scheme:

          • Railings to be maintained for safety reasons
          • Railings to prevent cattle etc from straying
          • Railings of special artistic or historical interest.
            • The work was to be undertaken by the Ministry of Works and Buildings. It was hoped that most owners would surrender their railings freely although measures were in place for any claims/disputes to be settled at a flat rate of 25/- per ton.

              Lothingland RDC Minutes, SRO

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