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WW2 - People's War

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Air Raid Warning Red!

by Newry Branch Library

Contributed by 
Newry Branch Library
Location of story: 
Newry Co.Down. N.Ireland
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
27 January 2005

During the war I was a telephonist in the local telephone exchange. My gas mask hung on the back of my chair. I had to practice operating the switchboard for half an hour weekly wearing this monstrosity which I found very claustrophic. Due to the extra number of military in Newry and surrounding areas it meant a huge increase in military subscribers which I had to cope with but no extra outgoing lines. There was no subscriber trunk dialling at that time and all calls had to go through the exchange. It was hectic for me and my colleagues.
When enemy aircraft were approaching the area the exchange was alerted by telephone with the message “Air Raid Warning Red”. I then put on my gas mask and remained so with it on until the exchange got the “all clear” with the telephone message “Air Raid Warning Green” which meant the aircraft had gone away.
It was a very busy period for myself and my colleagues but we certainly kept the lines of communication open.

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Northern Ireland Category
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