Betty McLean in Canada asks, “I am wondering if you have done any research on streets where there may have been air raid shelters? I think there was an Anderson shelter in the back garden in the house next door to 61 Welsh Drive where I lived with my parents and grandfather. I also have a feeling there may have been a brick shelter just outside the gate at Welsh Drive. I know for a fact there was one in Burnbank outside my other grandparents house in Ulster Terrace.
After the war there was a man who lived near Ulster Terrace who used his shelter for children to visit inside where he had decorated it with birds etc. We paid a half penny for the fascinating experience of being there. I remember going down the stair into the ground where we could sit and look around and the feeling of not being able to stay longer”
Blantyre had several Air Raid Shelters throughout the area. Constructed hastily and lasting for the duration of the War years, amongst the more notable larger shelters were: One at Calder Street and another at Larkfield at the corner of Broompark Road and Stonefield Road, directly across from Danskins.
This was manned every evening by at least one air raid warden.
Blantyre also had dozens of Anderson Shelters. These were smaller, metal and brick air raid shelters, often in resident’s gardens. They probably would not have been too effective had a bomb ever struck, but the shelters were very common throughout the UK. Following the war, these tin shelters lasted right into the 1980s or so, and were often turned into bike sheds, potting sheds, kennels or pidgeon coops. There is a possibility that some still exist in Blantyre. Pictured below is my mother Janet Duncan in the back garden of 10 Stonefield Crescent in 1965. Mum would have been about 18 then and looks like she’s just washed her hair. To her right is the Anderson Shelter. It lasted right into the late 1980s, use as a bike shed in the post WW2 years.
Air Raid Precautions Wardens or ARP Wardens had the task of patrolling the Blantyre streets during blackout, to ensure that no light was visible.
Darkness throughout cities and towns was necessary to avoid the attention of German bombers in World War Two. If lights were spotted, the warden would alert the person responsible by shouting something like “Put that light out!” or “Cover that window!” They could report persistent offenders to the local police.
It was stated officially in the Glasgow Herald on September 29th, 1938 that Blantyre Police were highly pleased with the response made for volunteers for service under the A.R.P. regulations. Up till then over 1,000 men had appeared at the Blantyre Police Station and agreed to give their services for immediate duty. The men were allocated to districts and sub-districts under senior officers and were representative of all classes in the community, which included business men in Glasgow, local doctors and business men, unemployed miners and school teachers. Gas masks had been stored in the local police office for some time previous to that, but from September 1938, masks were stored in different halls in Blantyre.
Amongst the names of WW2 wardens in Blantyre were Mr Hamilton and Mr Boyle and it was not unknown for Blantyre wardens to help out in Glasgow.
There were around 1.4 million ARP wardens in Britain during the war, almost all unpaid part-time volunteers who also held daytime jobs.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c)
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