Yoxford

Yoxford was an important centre of communications and was designated a Nodal Point. A joint Civil and Military Defence Scheme was produced although the Military part is unfortunately missing from the records held at the Suffolk Records Office. The following is taken from the Defence Scheme (undated) as well as minutes from the Invasion Committee.

Expected enemy action was either:

• Attack by air-borne troops from any direction
• Attack by ground forces landed by sea. Expected direction of such an attack was from between the NE to SE.
• Attack by bombing.

As always, the primary role of the Invasion Committee was to ensure that civil administration continued to function as long as possible and to cooperate in every way with the military. If civil administration did break down then the military would assume direct responsibility. Civilians were expected to observe the ‘Stand Firm’ policy and keep off the roads. On no account were they to leave their homes for some supposedly safer area. A simple leaflet was prepared detailing these two aspects of ‘Stand Firm’ i.e. ‘stay put’ and ‘stay indoors’.

At first the Civil headquarters was located at the Wardens Post opposite the parish church but later Military and Civil headquarters were combined at The Hollies and this was to be manned on ‘Stand To’. Warning of ‘Stand To’ was to be posted on the village notice boards.

Civil Defence posts were to be established at:

• High Street
• Brooke Street
• Little Street

Each post was manned by police, wardens, stretcher-bearers and a rescue/demolition party.

The role of the police (comprising of a Constable and two Special Constables) was to restrict civilian traffic on road and rail and immobilize any vehicles likely to fall into the hands of the enemy. The Police Station was actually outside the defence perimeter and the Station Constable, P.C Martin, was to move to the Brooke Street post, within the perimeter on ‘Stand To’.

Casualty Services (Civil and Military) were combined under the Medical Officer, 168 Field Regiment. A First Aid post was located at the Parish Room, High Street and the Regimental Aid Post at Horner’s Shop (adjoining the village school). Yoxford had no ambulances available and casualties would be evacuated under the instructions of the Report Centre at Saxmundham. About 30 Army beds were available at The Hollies for use for casualties.

There was also no gas decontamination centre (the nearest being located at Saxmundham), but civilian males could use the army facilities at The Hollies (although military personnel would come first). Alternative arrangements for females were made by the W.V.S. The Home Guard had a large supply of bleach for decontamination should none be available from ARP. The policy of decontamination was to largely rely on personal decontamination, with a window display of instructions on the use of Anti-gas ointment No.2 , removal and washing of clothes etc, displayed in the window of Messers Horner and Chapman. The public were to be encouraged to carry a tin of ointment with their gas masks.

Boys (with parents permission) were to be used as runners for carrying messages from HQ –typical tasks would be calling out the rescue/demolition squads or taking messages to wardens.

Emergency food stores were located at:

• Co-operative Stores – to supply Brooke Street and surroundings
• Horner’s stores – to supply High Street and surroundings
• Chapman’s stores – to supply High Street and Hogs Hill
• Cook’s – to supply Little Street and Willowmarsh.

A list of each household that each depot was to supply would be posted in the shop window. The village had a good supply of water wells so extra precautions in this respect were not considered necessary.

Any refugees were to be allotted food tickets. The rest center for refuges and bombed out people was to be located at the village hall. Although refugees would be permitted to enter the village they would not be allowed to leave.

The rescue and demolition squads would work under the ARP with shovels and picks etc available from the Home Guard. It was emphasized that they may be required to clear debris, repair roads and dig trenches for the Army and such tasks in certain circumstances would take precedence over the care of wounded.

The Church Bells were to be rung if six or more parachutists were seen – only the military or Home Guard could order ringing.

  Above - telephone communications - Yoxford Invasion Committee

The minutes of the first Invasion Committee meeting noted a shortage in personnel for the stretcher bearers, rescue and demolition squads and auxiliary fire service. Of note in the second set of Invasion Committee minutes is that the use of the few cellars or the digging of slit trenches for air raid protection was NOT to be encouraged as this would conflict with the advice to stay indoors!

References:

Yoxford Invasion Committee papers, SRO

yoxford
communications

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