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Lest We Forget Exhibition - Air Raid Precautions

Birmingham Remembers VE Day

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Air Raid Precautions

A.R.P. wardens in Acocks Green

Due to its vast industrial capabilities and resulting importance to the war effort, Birmingham was to be a major target for the German Luftwaffe bombing offensive. With the city and its people in great danger, the responsibility of their protection fell to the local Air Raid Precaution (A.R.P) services.

St. Martin's after an air-raid in April 1941

Far away from the battlefields of Europe, North Africa and the Far East, there were many sacrifices on Birmingham home front. Enemy bombing destroyed at least 12,000 homes. 2,241 people lost their lives in the air raids and more than 3,000 people were seriously injured. The image of damaged and wrecked buildings shown here serve as stark reminders of the dangers faced by the people of Birmingham.

A.R.P. services, Central Control, Council House

Thousands of volunteers answered the call to join Birmingham A.R.P. services. These men and women were well trained and organised, and were prepared to risk their lives in order to protect the safety of others. Despite shortages in resources, Air Raid Wardens, the Auxiliary fire service, the Women Voluntary Service and the Casualty Services worked day and night to protect the city. Even children had a role to play, with boy scouts running messages in between control posts.

Adjusting a gas-mask

The air raids in Birmingham were at their height in 1940 and 1941, including a 13 hour raid on 11 December 1940, one of the longest raids inflicted upon Britain during the Blitz. In the face of such adversity, however, Birmingham A.R.P. services developed a national reputation as a determined and effective force, with the Auxiliary Fire Service and the A.R.P. services often praised in the Air Ministry daily national air raid communiques for their ability to respond quickly and efficiently to fire and damage incidents.

'Lest We Forget' Exhibition