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Welney Civil Defence

page created 31st July 2010, amended/updated Wednesday, 01 February 2017
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In the summer of 1935 the UK Government's Home Office issued a circular on Air Raid Precautions (ARP). The result was that in 1938 local authorities in Britain were made responsible for 'ARP Services'.

Shortly after Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, 'ARP Services' became officially 'Civil Defence General Services'. At one time there were nearly 2 million 'Civil Defence Volunteers' throughout the UK, of both sexes, aged over 15, formed into local groups. The groups, or units, had a wide range of responsibilities, some actually performed by other groups such as the Women's Voluntary Service and various youth groups.

One of the main tasks was, obviously, to do with Air Raids - particularly the aftermath, caring for the community by providing rescue, first aid, food and shelter.
welney civil defence
Above is Welney's Civil Defence unit in front to the ivy-covered Lamb & Flag Inn. The uniforms have the distinctive pre-1948 CD badge; the colour of the uniforms should have been dark-blue, but those in the front row look to be wearing a different, lighter colour to those behind.
Who are they, and when was this taken? Was the man in 'civvies' Mr Charles Ray the schoolmaster, who was (according to several accounts) a Captain in the Home Guard until they were "stood-down" in November 1944? And who was the lady? WVS, perhaps?
Oct 2010. Tony Smart e-mailed from Cambridge. "The lady is Mrs Blows (wife of Ernie Blows) and lived at 12, Chestnut Avenue during my childhood in the 50's. Mrs Blows was trained in First Aid (member of the St.Johns Ambulance) not sure whether she was ever a trained Nurse? All the children, of which there were many in the Avenue at the time, were sent to Mrs Blows for treatment for cuts / grazes etc. I can identify two others on the front row, extreme left Freddie Markham sitting next to Bert "Kelly" Kent ."
In 1948 the organisation became the 'Civil Defence Corps' and given a new badge and training to deal with the effects of a nuclear, biological and chemical attacks. Although the role of the Corps was to provide welfare services during warfare, it was also used to assist with peacetime emergencies such as the 1953 flooding in East Anglia.

To the surprise and dismay of many, the Government disbanded the Corps in 1968, apparently as an economy measure.
Related pages on this website
Welney's War Memorials
Aircraft crashes during WW2
Raymond James - WW2 memories
Welney Fire Brigade in WW2
Welney Home Guard
Women's Land Army
St. Johns Ambulance Brigade
Related External websites
Civil Defence Association
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