Posts Tagged ‘Stirrup pumps’

Pontypool pets during wartime

October 18, 2012


A.R.P. or Air Raid Precautions was a term known to everybody during the war. I remember an issue of ¬†Wills’s cigarette cards which dealt with the subject. There were also a number of small booklets which dealt with various aspects of A.R.P. such as how to operate a strirrup pump to deal with small fires and so on.

Air Raid Precautions cigarette cards

But there is one little booklet that is not so well known and that was the one telling us what we should do with our pets and other animals during an emergency. It advised that dogs should be muzzled when they were in a domestic shelter as they might become frenzied at the noise of bombs exploding and the sound of anti-aircraft gunfire. It was made clear that neither dogs nor cats would be allowed in a public shelter. I was reminded of the effect of explosions on dogs some years ago when we had a collie bitch. During the evening of Guy Fawkes night she would try to get up on our laps; she hated the noise.

We were surprisingly informed in the booklet that horses and cows would not be affected by tear gas because their eyes are less sensitive that ours.

If you were driving a horse at the time of an air raid – and horses were in common use during that time as I have mentioned in previous blog posts – you were advised to unharness the horse and tie him to a post in an open space.

Sir John Anderson and his assistants were responsible for the compilation of this booklet and they were thanked for their careful consideration of domestic animals. British people then, as now, loved their animals which were considered an indispensable part of society. Sir John was best known for his services in the Cabinet during World War II where he was known as “The Home Front Prime Minister”. The famous Anderson Shelters were named after him.

An Anderson Shelter

Approximately one quarter of the population were supplied with the necessary corrugated iron sheets to build an Anderson Shelter, usually in their back gardens. Places which were considered reasonably safe from German bombs, such as Pontypool, were not supplied with such shelters whereas places like Newport, were.