"Edinburgh at War"

1939 - 1945

Trinity School

Thank you to Walter Lyle Hume, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK, for his recollections of his war-time life in Edinburgh, whilst attending



"Schooling continued apace, with great difficulty, many hundreds of pupils from city schools being evacuated in 1939 to locations considered safer.

Many teachers were rapidly called up to serve in the armed forces.   Remaining teachers undertook additional duties.

The entire 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."




"Frequently, we 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 broken limbs

- found 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)."



Civil Defence

"We, pupils, were encouraged to `do our bit` for the war effort and volunteer for First Aid, as Air Raid Wardens, Civil Defence Messengers, Auxiliary Fire Service.

When the Air Raid Sirens wailed to warn the population of imminent danger.  Duties sometimes extending all night.

The constant 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

"Being fully accredited Civil Defence Messengers, we were properly equipped with battledress uniforms, adorned with gold coloured badges and shoulder flashes.

We supplied 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 Fighting

"An Auxiliary Fire Station had been established in the grounds of a new school under construction, temporarily halted, just along the road from our own school

 We were encouraged to turn out as a second string crew, usually at weekends to allow the full-timers a brief respite.

The vehicles 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.

Our nearest 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."




"Generally these 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 not forgotten."



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