Air Raid Warden's Shelter

Contributed by Stareager

Air Raid Warden's Shelter

We bought our house thinking the garden had an air raid shelter: it was square and made of 9" reinforced concrete - but it had a door (still the original) and a window. Inside there was not enough room for a bed, and certainly not for a family to sleep.

It turns out to be a Warden's shelter and the history has to do with the quality of munitions: so many bombs remained unexploded, and this was often more of a problem than the ones that went off. So the Warden's job was to be outside and watch where the bombs fell during a raid; if any did not explode, he or she would note the position.

The 'shelter' bit came in when he or she decided that a bomb was going to land very close. The shelter would give, I guess, some protection from shrapnel but not from pressure waves, and not from a direct hit. The size of the interior room (there is also a bit of a passage which may have screened some of the blast) suggests it might also have been an office, with conduits which suggest electricity and/or communications.

See Peter Watt's 'Hitler v Havering' page 90 for an almost exact copy of ours, and the fatal effect of a close bomb. ISBN 0-9524-0320-X, Carlton Armitage Press 1994.

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Hanwell, West London


WW2, say 1940


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