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Air Raids and Barrage Balloons in Derby

by ambervalley

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Joan and Marjorie Tomlinson
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
28 June 2004

I worked at Rolls Royce in Derby in the Coppersmiths shop during the war.

Officials came round to the village halls and asked for volunteers for air raid wardens and auxillary, first aid etc.

I decided to volunteer as an air raid warden, my aunt Florence (Florrie) James who lived on Brook Street, West End Derby did first aid.

We were given a whistle a tin hat and a rattle and told we had to go out at night, which was pitch black as there were no lights on. We had to walk round and make sure that no one else had their lights on everywhere needed to be blacked out.

We even had to tell people who were smoking outside to put their cigarettes out, the glow from the end was very obvious in the blackout.

We used to go Clemsons, a cardboard box manufacturer and fire watch from the roof, we used to sit for hours, about six at a time and be on the lookout for fires. We also used to keep walking around on the roof to look for incendiary bombs. My sister Marjorie Tomlinson also did it with me.

If a fire was spotted we had buckets with saw dust in and we would have to rush out to where the incendiary bomb had dropped and put the sawdust on it. The fire brigade would then arrive to take over.

We did not have many dropped in my area which was around the Keddleston Lane area, but there were quite a few dropped around Mark Eaton Lane.

I remember being at home one night and the sirens were going off every few minutes, my sister and I decided that we were not getting up that night if the sirens sounded, we were fed up of getting up all of the time for nothing. We lay in bed that night and all of a sudden heard a whisteling sound, we wondered what it was then all of a sudden we heard a loud crash, and realised that a bomb had dropped , we virtually rolled down the stairs, we had never got down so quick in our lives!

The bomb, we later found out had hit a search light at the end of
Mark Eaton Lane.

There were Barrarge Ballons situated around Derby when the raids came so if the planes were too low they would run into the wires attached to the balloons.

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Air Raid Precautions Category
Derbyshire Category
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