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Air Raids and Evacuation
The black-out was an important way of defending against air attacks. Homes, shops, cars and trains had to put up heavy curtains - sometimes up to three layers thick - or paint their windows to prevent any light escaping. Cars also had to be blacked out.
‘The cars had a wee cross cut oot for the headlights and ye see things comin' towards ye and it wis just a cross.’
Street lights were no longer used. All this made it more difficult for German bombers to find their targets. To make sure that people were following the rules, Air Raid Protection (ARP) wardens patrolled the streets and could fine people for showing any light. There were also concerns that areas would become more dangerous due to the lack of street lights. However, although there was an increase in road accidents, crime rates did not increase as much as people thought they would.
‘The blackout was ok in the summer but it was horrendous in the winter. We had built up sandbags round each doorway and opening and if you didn't know where you were. I had a black eye once. I had walked right into the sandbag but we were young then.’
‘The blackout itself was comical in lots of ways. Ma auntie got these wooden frames made and she got blackout material and if you came in and banged the door the blackout fell doon.and the warden would be screamin’ - Put that light out! Oh there were a lot of funny things as well.’
‘It was dark you know, ye had to stumble across the room and pull the curtains before you could put the light on.’
‘The ARP warden used tae pound round the streets. Ye'd maybe be sittin' listenin' tae a wireless and aw ye wid hear wis a whistle - Put that light out!’