Home World War Two Stories from the War War Gets Closer – District Reactions To Crisis    

War Gets Closer – District Reactions To Crisis    

September 1939

Mexborough and Swinton Times, September 1, 1939

District Reactions To Crisis
Volunteers Still Wanted
Mexborough 175 Below Strength
Appeals At A.R.P. Meeting  

A grave and thoughtful audience in the Royal Cinema, Mexborough, on Sunday night, were reminded of the town’s important responsibilities in A.R.P Discussion followed the speakers’ remarks and there was a critical “question time.”

Coun. George S. Morley, chairman  of the Mexborough Urban Council, who presided, said he regretted that although Mexborough was one of the leading districts in the Don Valley A.R.P. scheme it was nevertheless still short of volunteers. He hoped that the deficiencies would soon be rectified.

Mr. G. O. Randerson, as chairman of the Don Valley A.R.P. Committee, gave a short review of the international situation with reference to local commitments, and emphasised the need for civil defence volunteers. Mexborough as a whole came up to expectations yet they must not lose sight of the fact that they had a population of 19,200, and that out of the 475 volunteers required they possessed 300, and also had 200 air raid wardens.

Thus they required 675 volunteers in all Bout of which they possessed 500. Even making allowances for the number of children or the aged or infirm, figures were nothing to boast about. Many had held the scheme up to criticism and ridicule, which was not conducive to their obtaining more volunteers. He appealed to his audience to offer more help.

First Aid Needs.

Mr J.A. Harrison the A.R.P. Officer for the Don Valley outlined  the general A.R.P. scheme and then gave detailed descriptions of, the duties of the demolition and rescue parties, the first aid posts, ambulance work and control centres. They were experiencing especial difficulty in obtaining sufficient recruits for first aid and ambulance work.

Dr. J. J. Huey Medical Officer of. Health, Staunched an appeal for the two latter services.

Mr. T.Duke, an ambulance officer, and member of the Council’s Electricity Department staff, supported the doctor’s remarks, stating that the town required ambulance drivers urgently. This was specialised: work for it should not be thought that all women who were would competent behind the wheel of a car would  be equally at home in a heavy lorry. If they obtained driving licences they would be taught the rest.

Mr. Whitiwam spoke about the organisation and recruiting of the fire fighting service. They had considered they were fully up to the required strength in that department .and had every man fully trained, but the Government had issued further plans and they now wanted a further ten men besides eight women for telephone and clerical work and four women for Canteen duties. All this work would be purely voluntary but would entail full timey= service in the event of an emergency.

Mr. E. W. Sykes spoke on the work at the report centres and the personnel required. They were in the happy position of being up to full strength duties at the moment, but there were some light duties  which could be performed by women. They required twelve recruits for general clerical and telephonic work besides fifteen messengers in the evening in the case of a telephone breakdown

The recent black-out proved that the  Mexborough report centre was 100%  efficient, and could be said to be one of the best in the Don Valley Area, handling as it did, reports from a wide area.

Before the close of the meeting several questions were asked which revealed the fact the specially constructed gas masks for babies had been received and would be distributed in an emergency. Delivery of the Anderson steel shelters had been retarded by the fact that several of the large cities had not yet received their full quota.

Votes of thanks were given to the speaker.

All Sections Ready

Swinton on The Alert

150 At Wardens’ Meeting

There has been intense activity among Swinton A.R P volunteers during the week, and last night it was officially reported that all sections are ready to operate at short notice.

County Delay.

Concern has been felt about the delay in equipping Swinton buildings for A.R.P. purposes, and at a special meeting the Council decided to press their claims upon the County Council. Plans for a decontamination centre in the Council depot, and for five air raid wardens’ posts were submitted to the County Council several months ago, but permission has not yet been given for work to start. Swinton Council are now asking for a visit from a deputation from the County Architects’ Department in order that this vital work may be expedited.

A first aid post has been established at Rock House and accommodation for the auxiliary fire brigade has been provided in Highfields Park, adjacent to the Council offices.

Classes for the presonnel for the report centre began this week under the direction of P.c. Noden. Hitherto  members of the Council staff have acted temporarily at the report centre. Last night the report centre was permanently manned, and untrained members of the centre’s staff were given special instruction. On Tuesday there was a wardens’ meeting whic 150 volunteers attended.

The Head Warden, Mr G. McIver, presided, detailed wardens”  duties and referred to the complete success of the recent black-out. The report centre staff has been described as one of the most efficient in the Riding.

P.c. Noden went thoroughly into every phase of war duties and answered a series of questions. Coun. J. B. Vickers said babies’ hoods were now available for demonstration purposes only.

Masks For All.

We are asked to point out that all above the age of four who are without masks can be supplied at the police station. Mr. E. Adams, Sanitary Inspector, has received two masks for babies under two and will demonstrate how to fit them at a meeting for all local mothers in Swinton Library Lecture Hall on Friday at 6-30 p.m. All mothers are specially urged to attend. Until babies’ masks are distributed parents are advtised to enclose small children in wet blankets as protection against gases.

Swimming Bath Emptied

Part of Dearne District Preparations

Water Supply Safeguarded

Dearne is prepared. All has been activity this week. Squads of workmen have painted the now familiar white lines on all roads within the Urban District. Edges of kerbs have been whitened, as have lamp posts, corners of bridges. The Council have discontinued street lighting, and this emergency situation will exist until all danger of war has been lifted.

Thurnscoe Baths have been emptied and the floor replaced. Several structural operations are now taking place, and the whole building will soon be ready as an emergency first aid post. It is being manned by the St. John Ambulance Brigade, but arrangements are being made for the installation of a permanent staff of about thirty.

The boiler house and rear chambers of the baths will be used as a decontamination centre, a very useful arrangement in view of the powerful water supply. This will also be manned by permanent staff.

The Thurnscoe Fire Station is also at the rear of the Baths, and auxiliary depots are being accommodated at Goldhorpe and Thurnscoe.

Welfare Hall Requisitioned.

The Welfare Hall at Goldthorpe has been requisitioned as a mobile first aid post, and a heavy lorry has been converted into an auxiliary “hospital,” and will either summarily deal with casualties or take them to the Welfare Hall or the Baths Hall. A fleet of ambulances will operate from the former building. Other buildings in the locality have been earmarked for emergency use, including the Thurnscoe Parish Hall. Dearne Urban District is dependent upon Mexborough for much of its service owing to the convenience of centralisation, and all reports will be transmitted there. Skeleton staffs of wardens are on telephone duty, and special constables will be on patrol work.

The water undertaking has necessitated several precautionary measures, and in the event of a main destruction by high explosive, the particular sector could be short circuited or auxiliary supplies brought to the town from Broomhill.