CHAPTER 19 TRAINING

Creation of Instructors

A civilian organisation formed for the first time to deal with the possible effects of heavy and indiscriminate bombing clearly needed adequate training arrangements and, in 1938, we commenced to tackle this problem to the best of our ability. Initially, training was restricted to Anti-gas measures and First Aid for casualties, and even for this limited programme we were handicapped by shortage of lecturers. However, we paid for the services of Anti-gas lecturers (C.A.G.S.) from outside the Borough to train some of our people to become Local Instructors, and thus created some twenty local lecturers (L.A.G.C.) for ourselves. In respect of First Aid, we had the great advantage of the assistance of the local St. John Ambulance Association who gave of their best and were very helpful. So also were the local doctors who trained hundreds of Casualty Service personnel without charging any fees.

In view of what we felt to be the urgency of the situation, we evolved our own Anti-Gas and First Aid Courses, the latter consisting of four sessions instead of the usual six and not requiring the attendance, of a doctor on each occasion. Special booklets were prepared both for Anti-Gas and First Aid Training, and were issued to all A.R.P. volunteers and were also sought after from other Areas. After experience in the effects of raids had been gained, the C.A.G.S. and L.A.G.C. Instructors were required to take further training in " Types and Effects of H.E. Bombs, Incendiary Bomb Control and Fire Fighting." Those who were successful in passing the examinations (practical and written) became known as Air Raid Precautions School Instructors (A.R.P.S.) and Local Air Raid Precautions Instructors (L.A.R.P.). This further qualification enabled them to give training in these subjects, and training of volunteer personnel was commenced immediately.

Later we were permitted to send selected L.A.R.P. Instructors to the Ministry of Home Security Schools at Falfield, Gloucester, and Easingwold, Yorks, to train as A.R.P. Instructors. Once sufficient Instructors had qualified as A.R.P.S.. special courses for the training of L.A.R.P.s were commenced locally in order to speed-up the training of the Services. These courses were not restricted to our own A.R.P. personnel, and managements of Factories and Business premises were also urged to send selected men and women to become instructors. In this way large Firms were enabled to carry out the training of their A.R.P. personnel themselves and our Instructors were released to train members of the general public in A.R.P. measures.

General Training

An extensive programme of general training was planned and put into operation both for A.R.P. personnel and the personnel of certain other Services. Instruction in protection against H.E. and blast and in anti-gas measures was also given at Public Halls and Schools for hundreds of members of the general public. Thousands of enthusiastic members of the Street Fire Parties (later Fire Guard) were also given both theoretical and practical training in protection against H.E. and Gas, Incendiary Bomb Control and Fire Fighting. To enable this extensive training to be carried out we created a purely local category of " Sub-Instructors." When the Invasion Defence Scheme was in-augurated a fresh scheme of general training was arranged for the thousands of new recruits who had previously received no other training.

Specialised Training

In addition to general training, however, we provided special training of various kinds the better to equip different sections to perform their own particular functions, and the following may indicate someŽthing of the scope of this specialised training:-

At the time of evacuation we arranged training for teachers, W.V.S. members and others who had volunŽteered to assist, the training including First Aid, Anti-Gas, Home Nursing and Child Care. When the Fire Guard Plan was introduced in 1943, we had three men trained at Falfield to become Fire Guard Instructors (F.G.I.C.), and these men were thus enabled to train others to become Local Fire Guard Instructors (L.F.G.I.s). A large-scale special training programme of both a practical and theoretical nature was planned for Fire Guards and, in order to commence this as quickly as possible, special Instructors Courses were held locally to create Local Fire Guard Instructors (L.F.G.I.s). (Personnel of Firms and Business premises were also included in these courses for training as Instructors.)

Refresher Courses

As the years went by the changes in the technique of aerial warfare and the valuable experience of raids called for a constant revision of and additions to the training programmes of C.D. Services with the result that training had constantly to be revised and expanded to cover an increasing variety of subjects. Even as late as March, 1945, we were therefore running Refresher Courses to ensure that our personnel were kept abreast of new ideas and we were satisfied that one of the reasons that we were not " caught napping" by the enemy was our constant endeavour to keep the Service up-to-date.

Instructors

From the foregoing record it will be realised that a considerable number of people were required to be trained as instructors. In all we had at various times: -

In addition we had a considerable number of Sub-Instructors whom we trained locally to meet our own needs. Until 1942, all lectures to personnel by our lecturers were given free but, thereafter, arrangements were revised and payment was made for 50% of the lectures given, each paid lecture being " paired " by one unpaid lecture by the same lecturer.

Part I - General

Part IIa - The Services

Part IIb - The Services

Part III - The Story of the Raids

Part IV - Flying Bombs & Rockets

Part V - To the Unknown Citizen