Bourne Archive: Lincolnshire Special Constabulary

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The Bourne Archive


Lincolnshire Special Constabulary Bulletin No. 13 – July, 1941


Warfare


The number of Special Constables recorded as having performed effective duty this month was 3,880. Seven men completed their training in H.E. and I.B.; 13 in Anti-Gas measures; 7 in Police Duties and 22 in First-Aid.

Division

No. sworn in

H.E. & I.B.

Anti-Gas

Police Duties

First Aid

Proceedings

under the

Lighting

Order

Cleethorpes

534

420

386

433

347

4

Gainsborough

455

424

422

402

408

0

Louth

459

365

387

270

297

3

Scunthorpe

647

360

450

361

274

0

Skegness

349

227

241

225

235

0

Sleaford

371

326

301

292

286

7

Stamford

416

343

340

343

252

2

Spalding

649

460

505

434

376

3

 

3880

2925

3032

2760

2475

19

 

The following members of the service have been thanked during the month of July :-

Special Constable H. Coupland of the Sleaford Division, for the initiative he displayed in verifying and identifying a decoy enemy agent in a recent Home Guard Exercise at Waddington.

 Section Leader E. Derry and Special Constables Walter Hunt, J. G. Sutton, J. B. Nelson and George Elsam of the Sleaford division, for their services at the scene of an aircraft crash at Stapleford.

Special Constables C. J. Fullforth and L. Gilling of the Sleaford Division, for their prompt action at considerable personal risk, in assisting to extricate the bodies from an aircraft which crashed and burst into flames at Evedon.

Special Constable F. Goldthorpe of the Scunthorpe Division, for his services following enemy air activity near

Special Constable J. T. Gravell of the Scunthorpe Division, for his assistance to the Regular Police in dragging operations to recover a body from the River Corn at Epworth.

Special Constables G. E. Horry and H. K. Cranidge of the Scunthorpe Division, for their assistance to the Regular Police following an accident to a soldier at Crowle.

Special Constable W. E. Grayson of the Sleaford Division, for his assistance to the Regular Police in tracing two men who were reported to be acting suspiciously in the vicinity of Waddington.

Special Constable J. Hawley of the Stamford Division, for his services in connection with several cases of cycle stealing.

Special Constable E. R. Lacey of the Scunthorpe Division, for his prompt action in extinguishing an outbreak of fire at the Goxhill Brickworks.

Section Leader F. A. Mann and Section Leader J. W. Sargeant and the members of their respective sections in the Skegness Division, for their assistance to the Regular Police in cordoning off an area, during the early hours of the morning, in which a dangerous criminal was known to be at large.

Special Constable P. Masters of the Scunthorpe Division, for his services in communicating his suspicions to the Regular Police concerning a youth in possession of a bicycle which led, subsequently, to the conviction of the boy and the restoration of the cycle to its rightful owner.

Section Leader T. Phillipson and Special Constables G. Bonnett, E. Drakes, W. H. Smith, H. A. Smith and G. Whelpton of the Cleethorpes Division, for their assistance to the Regular Police in controlling large crowds of sightseers and road traffic at the scene of a recent aircraft crash at Kingerby.

Section Leader G. F. Smith and Special constables J. Linley and F. Appleyard of he Cleethorpes Division, for their services in bringing a difficult case of attempted suicide to the police station and effectively preventing the person concerned from inflicting further self injury.

Special Constables McDonald Steven, Charles H. Stone and Henry Stone of the Scunthorpe Division, for their services at the scene of an Enemy aircraft crash at Bonby.

Special Constable W. R. Wallwin of the Stamford Division, for his prompt action in recapturing two youths who had absconded from the Hereward Approved School1, Bourne.

Special Constable G. W. Wardle of the Scunthorpe Division , for his services in reporting two youths for riding cycles without lights, and his observance in regard to the sacks which they were carrying, which resulted in a conviction being obtained for stealing growing vegetables.

Section Commander C. Yates and Special Constable H. N. King of the Sleaford Division, for their services at the scene of an enemy aircraft crash at Deeping St. James.

ACTIVITIES OF THE SPECIAL CONSTABULARY

A team of Special Constables played and defeated a team of the Regular Police at Spalding , in a bowls match. Bowls matches have also been played between the Regular Police and Special constabulary at Bourne, Stamford and Sleaford.

The Regular Police and Special Constables of the Skegness Section joined in a social evening on behalf of the Red Cross Fund. Melbourne Inman and Sidney Smith gave an exhibition of billiards and snooker and, as a result of a collection, the sum of £12 13s. 0d. was forwarded to the Duke of Gloucester’s Red Cross and St. John Fund.

A cricket match between the Regular Police and Special Constabulary was played at Cleethorpes, resulting in a draw. The Horncastle Town Section competed against a Warden’s Service in a “Knowledge Bee,” the Wardens winning by two points.

The Lindsey Mobile Incendiary Bomb Hut visited parts of the Gainsborough Division and a good number of Special Constables attended to receive practical instruction in extinguishing fire. It is to be hoped that all rural Special Constables will take every advantage of the facilities so afforded for practical training which they will not otherwise obtain.

AJAX” EXERCISE. The Chief Constable acknowledges with thanks the services of all those Special Constables who gave up their Sunday to play their part in the recent large-scale military manœuvres. At a subsequent conference, high military staff officers and umpires warmly praised the manner in which the Police had carried out their duties.

1.                 FIRE PREVENTION IN CORN GROWING AREAS

As probably already known, special measures are now being organised to prevent fire in the principal corn growing areas of the country. These measures amount, briefly, to a watch being kept during the danger period (i.e., from when the crops are nearing ripeness until after they are harvested), The allocation of a large number of stirrup pumps for the protection of ricks and farm buildings, the setting up of local crop organisations to organise beaters, etc., and the dissemination of a special crop fire risk warning, which means that the weather conditions are such that special vigilance will be required.

This information will be passed through A.R.P. and Police channels of communication to as many villages as possible in the form of a message entitled “CROP WARNING.” Certain special Constables who are on the telephone may be requested to receive this warning and pass it to any local crop organisations which may be formed in accordance with instructions which will be given them by the Superintendents. Is should be made clear to all concerned, however, that this information relates solely to weather conditions and is NOT an indication that an air raid is likely to occur. The warning will cover a period of 24 hours. If, therefore, a similar message is not received the following evening, it can be assumed that the period of special risk has passed.

The present absence of daylight attacks, even if it persists, which cannot be taken for granted, does not necessarily mean that the danger of fires is limited to the hours of darkness, for it is possible that the enemy may employ “incendiary leaves” (see Item 2 below), or similar devices, which, when dropped at night, become active during the heat of the day. It is imperative, therefore, that a constant watch should be kept by farmers and farm workers during the danger period.

The Police services will render all possible assistance in this connection and all concerned are asked to be on the look out for any incendiary objects, to collect any fragments of objects of this nature which they may find and forward them to Headquarters for examination by experts.

Those who reside in rural districts are advised to procure for themselves implements such as brooms and besoms to beat out fires, and to have them handy at all times. The following suggestions for implements may be found helpful:-

(i)                          A small sack tied to a handle with a crossbar to keep the sack spread;

(ii)                       A piece of an old motor tyre fastened to a broom handle;

(iii)                    Brooms and besoms made of haze, elder or birch;

(iv)                      Old canvas fire hose; (Note – Fire Brigades have been authorised by Fire Brigade Circular No. 73/1941, to supply hose which is useless for fire brigade or decontamination work, to police of other genuine applicants, for fire beaters).

(v)                         Metal beaters from old tin which has been flattened out; Spades and shovels – the longer and more springy the handles, the better.

Further particulars will be found in the Ministry of Home Security’s leaflet “Fighting Fires in Crops,” which will be available at police stations and elsewhere very shortly.

2.               INCENDIARY LEAVES

The information given below is strictly confidential and must not be communicated to the press.

The leaves are wet when dropped, and as soon as drying is completed they burst into flame. The time of burning is from 8 to 10 minutes. If dropped at night, they do not ignite until the dew has evaporated the next morning. They may be in the form of a sandwich made of celluloid wafers, with one or more holes in the centre or at the corners, while others may be in the form of a single celluloid wafer with a phosphorous disc fastened to it. The wafers may be 4 in. square by 1 in. ; 2 in. square or other shapes and sizes. Any such objects in fields should be regarded with suspicion, and children especially should be warned against touching or moving them.

Any individual “leaf” can be easily extinguished, but large numbers might be dropped at a time, and the resultant fires consequently difficult to control. It is therefore desirable that they should be detected early in the morning when they are still wet and can be removed to a place where they can burn harmlessly. They should not be touched with the bare hand. Farm workers and others who are about in the early morning should keep a sharp look-out for these leaves.

The leaves can be kept under water with safety, and wetting will delay their bursting into flame.

 The incendiary bomb, Bullet and leaf are potential fire raisers in the countryside at any time and the danger period may well extend beyond the harvest.

3.               DANGER OF HANDLING OBJECTS DROPPED BY THE ENEMY OR USED BY H.M. FORCES

Renewed attention is drawn to Item 4 in Bulletin No. 7, as further accidents have occurred recently. In one of them, a labourer picked up a 2” mortar bomb, subsequently handing it to another man. The recipient thought it was harmless and gave part of it to his ten-year-old son. The son later got hold of the other part and in trying to fit the two together caused an explosion and was killed outright. All members of the Special Constabulary are asked to give the widest publicity to the need for surrendering to the Police any object, the nature of which is open to doubt, or is believed to be a weapon of war. In this connection, an extract of Defence Regulation 79 is appended hereunder for the information of Special Constables. Offenders are liable to a heavy fine, and/or imprisonment:-

“If any person finds any articles he has reasonable cause to believe :-

(a)            to have dropped from any aircraft, or to have formed part of any aircraft, or of the equipment of any aircraft; or

(b)            to be the property of a member of any of the armed forces of the enemy, of to have formed part of the arms, clothing or equipment of such a member, or to have been, or formed part , of any missile discharged by a member of the armed force; or

(c)             to have been used or intended  for use by a member of any armed force and to have been lost or abandoned;

or receives any such article from any other person whom he does not have reasonable cause to believe to be entitled to transfer it to him, or from any member of the armed forces of the enemy, he shall forthwith cause the article to be delivered to a member of His Majesty’s Forces on duty, or to an Officer in charge of a Police Station, or, if by reason of the size or weight of the article or other good cause, it cannot conveniently be so delivered, shall report the nature and situation thereof to such a member of officer aforesaid; and save as aforesaid no person shall remove or tamper with any such article.”

4.               USE OF STIRRUP PUMPS FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN FIRE FIGHTING

Various suggestions have, from time to time, been put forward for using stirrup pumps for purposes other than those for which they were designed, which are the control of incendiary bombs and the putting out of resultant fires. Amongst these purposes are, the spraying of shelters with disinfectant, the spraying of vegetables and plants with insecticide, the decontamination of materials and cleansing of persons. The use of disinfectant and insecticide cannot be allowed as they will damage the hose, corrode and leave deposits in the pump, thereby damaging the valves and interfering with their efficiency. At the same time, it is desirable that pumps should be used and tested at regular intervals to avoid deterioration, and there is no objection whatever to their being used with plain water, at or near the place where they are kept for fire fighting, for such purposes as cleaning motor vehicles or the windows of the building where the pump is kept.

5.                ANTI-GAS PRECAUTIONS – CLEANSING OF CONTAMINATED PERSONS AND CLOTHING

Arrangements are now being made between local authorities and senior naval officers, army commanders and R.A.F. station commanders for an exchange of information regarding available facilities and plans for mutual exchange of information regarding available facilities and plans for mutual assistance in the event of blister gas being used. The Government’s instructions for the conduct of uninjured civilians contaminated by blister gas are that, in general, they should take off splashed outer garments at once, and then go home or to the nearest private house or other place where they can get a wash. If they are more than five minutes form such a place, it is the duty of the Police and the Wardens Services to tell them what to do and, if appropriate, direct them to the nearest public cleansing centre.

The service departments have agreed that any sailor, soldier or airman, who is contaminated when away from his unit, shall act in accordance with the above instructions for the conduct of civilians and, conversely, that service cleansing centres shall, where practicable, be made available to civilians. If a member of the armed services changes his clothes at a private house, he will report to his nearest unit then return the borrowed clothes as soon as possible. If a civilian or any members of the police or A.R.P. services changes his clothes at a service station, a small supply of civilian spare clothing will be available which will, of course, be returned to the service concerned through the local authority.

6.               MARKING OF GAS CONTAMINATED VEHICLES AND GOODS

Arrangements have been made with the service departments for the use of a standardised label to indicate goods (other than clothing) and vehicles (other than railway rolling stock), which have been contaminated by poison gas. The word “CONTAMINATED” is printed across a gummed label, size 5 in. by 2¾ in., oval in shape, and coloured yellow with a bold purple or violet diagonal cross on it. The size has been chosen so that it may be stuck on a “tie-on” label, if necessary. Stocks of these labels have been printed and supplies are being issued to scheme-making authorities.

It is not intended to alter the system of marking already adopted by the railway companies, vis., a label marked “GAS”.

When the tyres of vehicles have been decontaminated it is desirable that they should be marked with the word “GAS,” as a warning that they should not be handled unnecessarily. The marking will be done with any suitable paint and no special colour is laid down.

7.                WEARING OF RESPIRATORS IN THE PRESENCE OF AMMONIA

Attention is drawn to the official advice which has been given in A.R.P. Handbook No. 1, that Service, C.D. and General Civilian Respirators are not designed to give protection against ammonia. There is reason to believe that this fact is not always fully appreciated, and as the use of respirators in concentrations of ammonia may give rise to serious danger, the following additional information on the subject is given.

It has been established that respirators give a certain degree of protection against immediate danger from ammonia, but that when they are worn subsequently the ammonia is liberated from the container in concentrations which may give rise to serious discomfort and even danger. This effect is produced even when gas-free air is drawn through the container, but, if it should occur in the presence of a war gas, the wearer is completely deprived of protection, since he will be unable to wear the respirator because of the ammonia given off as he breaths through the container, and so will be exposed to the full effects of the war gas.

Respirators should not, therefore, be relied on for protection against ammonia, but if, in emergency, they have to be worn while escaping from an area seriously affected by ammonia, e.g., where refrigeration plant is damaged, they must be returned to Headquarters as soon as possible with a label affixed thereon, so that the containers may be changed.

[facsimile signature] R H Fooks.

Chief Constable.

________________________________________________________________________

J. W. Ruddock & Sons Ltd., Printers, Lincoln      11930


Commentary

From early in the Second World War, after the Fall of France, special constables (part-time volunteer policemen) in Lincolnshire were informed of wartime developments and their morale maintained, by a small (typically 8 pp. 215 x 139 mm) booklet, issued to them by Lincolnshire Constabulary. It appeared monthly.

Each issue opened with a résumé of the activities of the previous month, the one mentioned in the title. That is the part of Bulletin 10 which is transcribed above.

1. ^    The Hereward School was in the former Ministry of Labour camp on the southern half of the Stray Pastures, now Forest and Woodland Avenues, with part of Beech Avenue, near Bourne Wood.


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