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Air Raids and Evacuation

Protection from Air Raids

The government took action quickly to protect the country against these air raids and other threats to the country.

There were lots of ways you could try to protect your home from the effects of an air raid. Windows were taped up to protect against damage from splintered glass. When a bomb exploded the blast would shatter the glass. For even more protection from bomb blasts, sandbags were propped up against windows. In fact, so many sandbags were needed that all of the jute produced in Dundee was used to make them! Cracks in the walls and floors were sealed with paper and paste. Ceilings were propped up with wood to strengthen them.

‘We used tae get in the Anderson Shelter. They horrible things. It wis terrible. It wis never used as an Anderson Shelter. We couldn't put it under the ground, there were too many pipes, we had it as just a garden shed. That's what they ended up as. They had bunk-beds in them.

Ma sister said if that dog barks the night there's going to be a raid and as sure as fate it happened. She must have had a sixth sense. She used tae scurry away underneath the blankets.The dog no ma sister.

I wis having ma first son and I had everything in a suitcase, ye ken fir a first baby, and every time the sirens went ma sister grabbed this case and there was one night when we got up there she jist had the handle.’

Many people had an Anderson Shelter in their gardens. These were made of corrugated steel covered with earth and had room for about 6 people. When an air raid was about to take place a siren would sound and those with an Anderson Shelter would run to the shelter to take cover. It gave good protection against shrapnel and flying glass. Those who did not have a garden were given a Morrison Shelter, named after Herbert Morrison, Minister for Home Security. These shelters could be set up indoors.

Families were encouraged to stock their shelters or refuge rooms with some food and other basic supplies such as water, blankets, clothing, chamber pot, disinfectant and a wireless to keep up-to-date with conditions and safety instructions. The shelters often ended up being used for other purposes.

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