Living in such close proximity to a major port, perceived as a target, the inhabitants of Swansea developed civil defence measures even before war was declared.
The Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Department, established by the Corporation, co-ordinated the work of the other emergency services, enforced black-outs, set up sirens around the town, sequestrated buildings for ARP use and publicised ARP measures widely. During the pre-war years the Swansea Fire Brigade was manned from the Police Force but in 1938 five hundred reinforcements were drafted in as the Auxiliary Fire Service.
Anti-gas training was given to the police, the fire service and ARP wardens, and gas masks were issued free of charge to the entire population. There was even a special ‘helmet’ for babies, and people were required to carry their masks with them at all times. Swansea also had three battalions of Local Defence Volunteers, later renamed the Home Guard. Their role was to defend the coastline and other strategic points, such as the railway, from imminent attack and invasion.
Find out more…
Read more about Swansea during World War Two… Home Front