Air Raid practice in London

Using a stirrup pump was a team effort, those facing the fire were told to get down low and shelter from the heat if possible, here using a chair as a shield.

As the winter approached and the nights grew longer there was every expectation that the Blitz would return. Bombing had continued sporadically around the country but it had remained quiet in London since May. Nobody expected it to stay that way. Vere Hodgson joined a her group of local Fire Watchers for training in dealing with incendiary bombs:

Wednesday, 1st October

Last night our squad had a stirrup pump practice in preparation for the Bomb Rehearsal. We took along our pump and about 20 of our Fire-Watch collected in a front garden. They laid a macintosh on the grass, and put an imaginary bomb and furniture around.

Mrs Hoare and I elected to be first in. If you have to look foolish it is best to get it over! She pumped, and I wielded the nozzle on the bomb, lying prone on the grass. But I was not near enough and the pumping not hard enough.

This is the drawback to women putting out fires. Mrs Hoare seized the bucket to put it nearer, and what with the pump and so many people watch me, she upset it.

This was really a success because it gave the experts something to talk about! In the end we got it going and everyone profited by our mistakes.

We are not looking forward to tomorrow night — we have the key of no. 5, and I have a suspicion they will plant a bomb there. It is all blacked out, and we shall need torches.

Buckingham Palace is to lose some of its gates to make tanks. Ours went long ago.

No eggs again this week … 3rd in succession, rotten!

See Vere Hodgson: Few Eggs and No Oranges
Almost everyone who visited the cinema will have seen the following official advice film:

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