"Edinburgh at War"
1939 - 1945
Thank you to Walter Lyle Hume, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK, for his recollections of
his war-time life in Edinburgh, whilst attending
continued apace, with great difficulty, many hundreds of pupils from
city schools being evacuated in 1939 to locations considered safer.
were rapidly called up to serve in the armed forces.
Remaining teachers undertook additional duties.
first floor of Trinity Academy was commandeered as an Air Raid
Precaution - First Aid Casualty clearing station, complete with a
full time trained Civil Defence staff."
were asked (`bribed` of tea and biscuits) to become
make-believe casualties for the Auxiliary Fire Service, Rescue
Crews, First Aiders and Air Raid Wardens.
We were strapped
- nay, tightly bound and secured – on a wire-based stretchers,
complete with an identity label, appropriately written in red, tied
prominently to depict some gory medical problem:
- one or more
unconscious, no apparent injury observed - could be inebriated !
Those for the
hospital were lifted up and put into the back of an ambulance, a
converted Rolls Royce hearse !!!, no less, round the block to
casualty reception (Tea Bar)."
were encouraged to `do our bit` for the war effort and volunteer for
First Aid, as Air Raid Wardens, Civil Defence Messengers, Auxiliary
When the Air
Raid Sirens wailed to warn the population of imminent danger.
Duties sometimes extending all night.
cry of “There's a war on” was thrown back at anyone who complained.:
"I’ve been up all night and need a rest"
Civil Defence Messengers
accredited Civil Defence Messengers, we were properly equipped with
battledress uniforms, adorned with gold coloured badges and shoulder
and maintained our own cycles, for which we received the princely
sum of two shillings and sixpence per month (12.5p).
Well lets face
it, it kept us going in fish suppers."
Fire Station had been established in the grounds of a new school
under construction, temporarily halted, just along the road from our
encouraged to turn out as a second string crew, usually at weekends
to allow the full-timers a brief respite.
requisitioned were mostly large cars, trade vans or lorries,
although there were two Bedford custom built fire engines,
box-shaped, the early version of the present day `Green Goddess`
machines, kept for emergencies.
All of these
motors towed a two wheeled trailer pump with lots of large hose,
mainly to draw water from any source, in the event of hydrants or
water mains being bomb damaged. Huge steel open topped tanks
were built at strategic points, containing many thousand gallons of
water. These gathered all sorts of rubbish.
area for fire drill, with these suction hoses, was over the sea wall
or Newhaven Harbour. It was all treated very seriously, and
if nothing else, it gave our roads a good free wash. We were
never called to a real fire."
early years of war for the civil population became an inconvenience,
more than a strict imposition. At least to us youngsters there was
more adventure than hardship - long time ago, but