The civil defence of Kingston upon Thames and its districts during the Second World War

Wasley, Gerald David (2013) The civil defence of Kingston upon Thames and its districts during the Second World War. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Air Raid Precautions (ARP) for the protection of civilians during the Second World War was a new concept in the history of the defence of Britain. Each local authority was by the ARP Act of 1937 to be responsible for providing an ARP scheme for its residents. The history of ARP has tended to focus on central issues at national level or on London and certain provincial cities. This could suggest that the war experience and contribution at the local level of towns was less significant. For this reason it is important to provide an outer London suburban case study to discover how a small district prepared its civil defence, performed in emergencies and what contributions were made to the defence of the town by the local residents. The study has focussed on the small suburban towns of Kingston, Surbiton and Malden. Evidence is submitted of the capability of the respective civil defence services. Firstly, by the development and organisation of these resources and the state of readiness at the declaration of war. Secondly, by presenting details that reveal the satisfactory work of the civil defence personnel during emergencies caused by enemy action. Confirmation is given regarding the resilience of the residents of these towns who endured air raids and missile attacks. This includes an analysis of unpublished Home Office Intelligence reports concerning the state of the morale of the people of Surbiton and Malden in the aftermath of the air raids suffered in 1940. My research shows how these suburban towns were defended by their local authority ARP service, the shared dangers experienced by the local residents and the high state of morale of the citizens.

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