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Preparations for War
Bletchley council offices were designated a report centre and became the
target for a mock air attack to test the readiness of emmergency services.

Sunday Citizen May 26, 2002

By 1939 it seemed that The War to End All Wars needed renaming as The War to End All But One Wars since a rematch seemed increasingly likely

Indeed, Bletchley took the situation very seriously and at the newly built schools clinic in Bletchley Road, plans were already in hand to have the premises converted into a first aid post, where A.R.P. casualties could be treated, should the need arise.

With London a primary target, the accommodation of refugees became a probability and in Bletchley 60 lady enumerators were appointed for the task, in a scheme supervised by Mr R Sherwood (after whom Sherwood Drive is named). When complete, the census revealed that with the number of habitable homes being 10174,1601 'unaccompanied children' could be housed.

Air raid sirens were fixed at the council offices and Vaughans and Cowley and Wilson garages. But since, in certain winds, it was difficult for them to be heard at Water Eaton, an additional siren was placed at Flettons brickworks.

From the air Bletchley station would present a most inviting target and with this in mind, near the goods yard large well drained trenches were dug, lined with seats.

The subway under the station could also be opened but - in blackout conditions - 'it was unpleasant to bump into women and other people' and police permission was sought to install a screened light.

Several local firms took measures to protect employees and at Beacon Brushes large concrete bins, formerly used to hold gravel, were converted into shelters.

Concrete shelters were also erected at the W. O. Peakes factory while Premier Press preferred to convert a strong room for the purpose, complete with brick built walls to break up air concussion.

On the military scene, now at full strength the Bletchley detachment of the Royal Bucks Yeomanry were training on 435 howitzers with other personnel on signallers duties.

Should the town be attacked, then apart from A.R.P. wardens, fire-fighters and medical personnel, provision was made for squads of specially trained council workers to deal with emergencies at the waterworks.

On June 9 hundreds of people watched a dramatic display, given by services at Bletchley Park. This included a gun and trailer, wireless cars, fire engines and ambulances.

The procession - a quarter of a mile long - then made it's way to then made if s way to the Report Centre, at the council offices where, upon arrival, in a simulated air attack three bombers from the aerodrome at Cranfield swept over. With explosions set off in the school grounds, 'casualties' and 'gas victims' were immediately attended to while in a second 'raid' the fire brigade swiftly dealt with a 'blaze' at the council offices.

The demonstration confirmed that, as far as possible, the town would be able to cope with the aftermath of an enemy attack but as events would prove, it was not direct enemy action that had any great impact on the town but more the arrival of evacuees and they will be the subject of a following article.