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UK Air raid shelters

Discussion in 'War44 General Forums' started by ThePiper, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. ThePiper

    ThePiper New Member

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    This may sound ridiculous but for the life of me I cant understand the good of a air raid shelter at bottom of garden.(only the fact no adjacent building ) surely a German bomb had as much chance as hitting the house (or missing house and hitting shelter) as the shelter.To labour the point bomb hits centre of row of houses and damaged houses fall on next house ect is the the point of shelter. I lived in Richmond surrey in a st that was hit by a landmine which demolished the whole st both sides dont think the shelter would have helped there....thoughts please
     
  2. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The brick type built in back gardens were only designed to protect against bomb splinters and falling debris, not direct hits or even near misses. Same for shelter trenches in public parks, and in Edinburgh's case, sandbag baffle walls across close entrances.
    London, Tyneside and Glasgow are the only places with underground systems that could have provided deep shelters; everywhere else had no other option but surface ones.
    But they were still better than nothing. In my own neck of the woods, public shelters were only built immediately before the outbreak of war, and that wasn't that unusual. A lot of local authorities actually refused to implement any kind of civil defence until they were forced to, on the grounds that they somehow "encouraged" war.
     
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Member

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    They gave protection against shrapnel and falling debris, they were not called Bomb Resistant Shelters. More often than not people survived who would not have if they had stayed within the house, unless they perhaps had a cellar

    TD
     
  4. Coder

    Coder Member

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    I have never heard of brick shelters in household back gardens, and certainly never saw.one, and I have no idea who would have sponsored them. What were sponsored by the Governemnt were Anderson shelters,(named after Sir John Anderson (1882-1958), Permanent Under-Secretary,, Home Office, 1922-32, and Home Secretary 1939-40). House-holders were invited to purchase, for 5/-, a set of pre-cut and moulded corrugated iron pieces for self-assembly in a hole dug to size and preferably lined with concrete, the whole packed with earth over the rounded top and sides.

    Later, Morrison shelters were introduced,(named after Herbert Morrison (1888-1965), conscientious objector in WW1 and Home Secretary 1940-45), which were for use solely indoors, offering a degree of protection against rubble in the event of a house collapsing. A disadvantage was the amount of floor space required, as once set up, they needed to remain until air raids were no longer a danger.

    I occasionally overnighted in a relative's Anderson shelter when visiting. I saw, and probably clambered inside, a Morrison shelter in situ, but never slept in one.
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Many people were killed by the building collapsing...or parts of it...or were caught in the resultant fire - in a small building away from the main 2-3-4 storey building defused this problem...the blast itself can kill, many people found completely intact but....dead. With it dug into the ground, If the occupants lay down they could survive a close hit (much like sitting in a trench). - I thought the idea was sound...gave the people some sense of "doing something" to protect themselves and brought fathers and sons together just to build the bloody thing!
     
  6. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    There's around a dozen of them in my neck of the woods; one was privately built by the then home owners, the rest were built by the local authority. They were mostly demolished by the council after the war, but like I said, a few still exist and are used as garden sheds.
    I did have a thread full of photos of my local ones, but the demise of photobucket seems to have killed it.
    Three.jpg Four.jpg Two.jpg One.jpg
     
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  7. ThePiper

    ThePiper New Member

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  8. ThePiper

    ThePiper New Member

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    I can assure you there where definitely brick air raid shelter in private homes, my maternal grandparents had a brick shelter cement roof with blast wall in front, as a child i use to climb all over it. This was situated in Kew a suburban district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames,
     
  9. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Air raid shelters in Australia
     
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  10. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    And occasionally you get UK newspaper reports of people finding shelter trenches in their gardens.
     
  11. ThePiper

    ThePiper New Member

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    Quite frankly I would have taken my chances in a warm dry bed in house then tough it out in a damp ridden wet shelter . I can see the very valid Morrison shelter as a great alternative to back garden shelter, that would have been my choice .
     
  12. ThePiper

    ThePiper New Member

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  13. Coder

    Coder Member

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    These are clearly Anderson shelters, design borrowed from the UK, or a very close adaptation.
     
  14. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I think you may find the ‘back garden shelter’ was just the rain cover...a stair or ladder led under ground...once the war was over the whole gets filled in and then used as a back shed...
     
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Quoting myself from elsewhere, referencing a Britain at War article:
    In a world of debris from hits, shrapnel, AA shells falling to earth etc. Something is better than nothing.
     
  16. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    When 1/KG30 attacked the Firth of Forth on 16/10/39, one man digging his allotment in Portobello was killed by fire from one of the pursuing Spitfires, an unexploded AA shell landed in the crossroads at Kirkliston, and another landed in the manse at Linlithgow and provided the meenister with a new fishpond postwar.
    And that was before things got even hairier.
     
  17. Coder

    Coder Member

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    Whereas Anderson and Morrison shelters were formally sponsored by the Home Office, even though householders had to pay the basic cost and arrange erection, I am sure that brick-built surface shelters, which clearly would have very limited protective value, were never officially sponsored. It is possible that they date from the Munich crisis of 1938, when some individuals undertook various activities on their own initiative in anticipation of imminent war.
     
  18. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The ones I showed earlier were definitely built by my local council immediately before the war, along with various public shelters across the town.
    Meant to post this rare survivor of a shelter sign in Stirling-
     

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