Congratulations, you have just survived your first air raid! But as you emerge from the dust and rubble you realize that your world has changed forever. Few people know how to survive an air raid and even fewer know what to do in the precious minutes once the bombing subsides. The decisions that you make will be the difference between life and death.
In my last post I shared some advice from my 1943 copy of the NZ Civil Defence Warden’s Handbook. Today I’m going to share some more original wartime tips, this time on how to cope with the aftermath of an aerial bombardment. Specifically, I’m going to cover some of the dangers that you might face and the immediate precautions you should take.
Here are some of the dangers you should watch out for after an air raid:
Unexploded Bombs (Known as UXB’s) – Enemy bombs or our own anti-aircraft shells may fall without exploding. All these are removed or destroyed by the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Army, members of which wear on the right cuff a badge with a flaming bomb on a blue background. Red flags are displayed on this Unit’s vehicles. Personnel and the vehicles must be given unhindered passage.
Being caught in an air raid is something that most of us don’t usually need to worry about, but that is no excuse for not being ready. If you know what to do in the event of an earthquake, tsunami, cyclone/hurricane and other similar hazards then you owe it to yourself to learn how to survive an air attack. So here are some handy air raid survival tips from my personal copy of the NZ Civil Defence 1943 Wardens’ Handbook.
Lemuel Lyes Collection
During the Second World War this handbook would’ve been tucked into the back pocket of your friendly community warden (or district warden, building warden, school warden, shelter warden or farm warden). They had a lot of wardens back then and there was a good reason – they were preparing for the possibility that New Zealand might be attacked by the Japanese.
A lot has changed since then. Planes are faster, explosions are bigger and it isn’t as easy to tell who the baddies are. But this advice about air raids is just as relevant today as it was then: Continue reading →