Hut Twenty One - Civil Defence

Hut 21 – Civil Defence

The Fireman

The fireman was taught to avoid heroics. Only the prospect of saving another life justified risking his own, but he found, what seemed to him, many good reasons for forgetting to calculate chances.

The Birth of Radar

Accounts of the origins of radar are clouded by the claims and counter-claims to invention made by various nationalities. There can, indeed, be little doubt that, by the early 1930s, both Germany and the U.S.A. possessed working radar sets, used in the detection of ships (the American acronym ‘RADAR’ – Radar Detection and Ranging – was not universally accepted until September 1943).

The Red Cross

During the war, the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St.John conducted their work as a joint body. The Function of the War Organisation was to supplement the work of the Medical Branches of the Fighting Forces, the Ministry of Health and other government authorities by providing all sorts of comforts and amenities that were not within the scope of the official agencies.

The Women’s Voluntary Service

The war time plea of “ask the W.V.S. to do it” sums up the immense variety of tasks undertaken by the Women’s Voluntary Service for Civil Defence. The organisation was initiated when, in autumn 1938, the Home Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, approached Dowager Lady Reading with a view to recruiting women to help with air raid precautions. By the end of 1938 the W.V.S was 300,000 strong.

Rescue Services

The Civil Defence organisation was the back bone of the Home Front. The organisation incorporated a vast number of services and civilian voluntary groups. The most important part of the Civil Defence (C.D.) organisation was its communication system. After the Luftwaffe had dropped their bomb-loads, the speed at which the emergency services were mobilized was of the utmost importance. Getting the right sort of aid to the right area (firemen for fires, rescue men for those trapped in rubble, ambulances for the injured) was the responsibility of those involved in the communication network – the reporting agents.