Saturday, 17 March 2012

ARP in Healing

During the Second World War, the Nazi menace attempted to blow the Allies into submission, by bombing civilian towns and cities. The attacks were devastating; even our own village, Healing, didn't escape attack.

To help injured civilians, clear bombed-out buildings, tell people to "put that light out!" and to boost morale, the Government set up the ARP - Air Raid Precautions. Immortalised by the TV programme Dad's Army, the ARP was set up in Healing on September 11th 1939, 10 days after the beginning of the war. This information is in the log-book, shown below:

Unfortunately the log-book does not tell us some things: firstly, where was the lookout post? 

Most days were quiet (on May 14th 1941, perhaps as a little joke, a warden writes 'All Quiet on the Healing Front'), with few bombs and little or no gunfire, but one night is recorded as being rather serious:

"Saturday May 11th [year?]. Bombs dropped on river bank between Grimsby and Immingham - probably some in Grimsby but not sure. Plane machine-gunned Wells Rd searchlights and its engine appeared to cut out over the village and was not heard again - officer from searchlights made enquiries as someone reported plane down at Healing with no confirmation [unreadable] to 05:00."

It turns out there was no plane crash in Healing, however, somewhere on Wells Rd is a bomb crater. I wonder where it is?

These men put out fires, rescued people from burning buildings, and, in doing all of this, put their own lives at risk. After the war, the group continued as the 'Fire Guard', and helped with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1952. Soon after this, they were closed down.

Lest We Forget,

1 comment:

  1. One page in the book is very memorable: it contains a poem, probably written by a weary warden. I assume it was never published, so I'm going to put it on the website, and give the warden/poet his first glimpse of fame:

    A silent night, oh what a delight,
    To wardens so weary with talk.
    How one's asleep - (but not in the deep),
    He's wearing his Home Guard tie.

    The other defender - with feet in the fender,
    Reads novels of fiction - all prose.
    He's thinking it's Sunday, (really it's Monday),
    Not wearing his old school tie.

    After much rhetoric, enough to make all sick,
    "A" warden has gone to the boot.
    His lungs quite hoarse, with exciting discourse,
    While wearing his old school tie.

    They speak of equality, justice and equity,
    With heckling alike from all three.
    Now all feel the yearning for more and more learning,
    Whilst wearing their old school tie.

    I can't quite make out the author's signature at the bottom, however, I can see at the end of his name it says "Egg, yellow and egg." I've noticed this sort of writing in the book, so I'll update when I learn what it means.


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