Recollections

Ron Webster

Ron remembers air raid shelters in Kirby and their construction.

1

The building of the Air Raid shelters on the Reccy

The air raid shelters built on the Reccy near the school were not “Anderson shelters”. The Andersons were assembled from preformed corrugated metal sections, bolted together to form a shelter about 6 feet square, with a curved roof. They were usually half buried at the end of the garden, well away from the house. All the soil that had been excavated to contain the shelter was back-filled to protect the sides and top. It provided adequate protection from the bomb blast and shrapnel. Any heating and lighting would be supplied by the householder. The Andersons were cheap and cheerful but they saved many lives.

The school ones were very different but like the Andersons were half buried in 3 feet deep trenches. There were four of them, sited in the recreation ground, near the school, but not too near to each other. The actual shelter was constructed from pre-cast concrete panels, 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. They were cleverly designed to slot into each other, each panel having a “tongue” and a slot at both ends, which were 90 degrees to each other. So, one panel was flat at the far end of the trench forming the floor, then two more, tongue in corresponding slots, for the walls, and one more for the roof, making a very strong vertical square. When the first one was done, the process was repeated many times, forming a strong tunnel, made even stronger after the excavated earth was back-filled against the sides and the roof, making it invisible from the air. Basic seating and lighting were provided and a shallow staircase gave easy access. The concrete sections were made by Alexandra Stone, just 1 mile away. It was claimed that we were safe in them from everything except for a direct hit - probably true!

2

Reccy Air Raid Shelter Construction

KMPS Air Raid Shelter construction