Most air raids happened at night and enemy aircraft would drop bombs on different parts of cities and towns. To warn people of an incoming attack, air raid sirens would be used. This piercing sound alerted families to head for shelter. To listen to what these air raid sirens sounded like and see a selection of photos of war-torn Britain, you can view this video clip.
Some shelters were given to families by the government and others could be purchased for those who had the money to do so. There were two main types of air-raid shelters in England – the Anderson shelter and the Morrison shelter.
Anderson shelters were made from corrugated iron and could hold up to six people. They were buried in the ground and available for free to those in a certain income bracket.
Underground train stations (or tube stations) were also used for shelter. Chemical toilet facilities and bunks were installed to accommodate thousands of people.
Morrison shelters were indoor units and put together inside the home. They were designed to withstand falling debris and had wire mesh sides and a steel tabletop.
More information regarding shelters can be found here.
Since cities and towns could be easily spotted in the evening, officials would enforce a “blackout”, requiring all citizens to cover up their windows and doors with heavy cardboard, curtains or paint, ensuring no light was showing.
“Preparing for Air Raids” includes memories of air raid precaution cards, covering your windows with black-out curtains or paper, and the types of air raid shelters people had in their homes.
“Living through Air Raids” includes memories of the air raid sirens, singing songs with classmates during an air raid at school, and huddled in a Morrison shelter at home.