‘Tuesday 4th Feb 1941, 9.45pm AIR RAID ALERT, Wakefield. Please make your way to your nearest shelter or place of safety’
The West Riding County Council (along with all other local authorities) was obliged to establish an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) service in order to protect the public during times of air attack. This included making sure the blackout was enforced; ensuring people carried their gas mask – and also logging the positions of any fallen bombs, incendiary weapons (fire bombs), crashed aircraft or anything else that fell from the sky during war time. These were logged in an incident book, organised by district and then incident number. The log for 1941-1944 for the West Riding of Yorkshire is held at WYAS Wakefield, as ref WRD1/Box 58/1.
The WR_ARP account will be tweeting these incidents live, as they happened. The incident numbers mean we can track the stages of an air raid; the Pathfinder bombers arriving; the first incendiaries initially dropping and then the high explosives; and then seeing how the hillsides in the south of the county often bore the brunt as the German aircraft jettisoned any unused bombs over open country before heading for France.
This Twitter feed is the first time since the War that these incidents have appeared in the exact order they happened, in real time; and as far as we know, it is the first time anything like this has been attempted.
We have also included entries from the ARP scrapbook of Doris Senior, held at Wakefield as WYW1729. This fascinating item includes air raid siren times, newspaper cuttings, civil defence pamphlets, photographs and bomb sites – even parts of the ARP uniform!
So – log on, keep your gas mask handy and let http://twitter.com/WR_ARP take you back to the dark days of 1941…