Bomb Shelters and Lights Out

During the war the German air force, known as the Luftwaffe, bombed many cities in Britain. The raids usually came at night and were very frightening. There were air raid stations set up all over the country, they watched and listened for air raids. They sounded the air raid sirens, which was the signal for going to the air raid shelters. These were places, often underground where families or groups of people gathered during an air raid. In London the Underground was often used during an air raid.

Many people built 'Anderson Shelters' at the bottom of their gardens. These were made of corrugated iron, partly buried and covered with soil. They offered protection as long as the bomb did not drop too close to them. These shelters were very small and people often had to spend all night in them. They had no electricity or gas, so it was not much fun, since they were often cold and damp.

When the German air force bombed a city or town it would look for lights on the ground to guide it to the target. To help prevent this all the street lights were turned off and people had to cover all their windows so that no light shone out at night. This was called 'the black out'. Air Raid wardens would walk around the streets to make sure no lights could be seen. If somebody forgot they would shout 'lights out', they could arrest people who did not follow their instructions, since it put the lives of all at risk.

Important buildings were also protected by putting sand bags around them. This did not prevent them form been destroyed if a bomb landed on them, known as a 'direct hit', but it prevented them from damage by the 'blast' of a bomb landing close by.