CHAPTER 26 RECREATION.

Civil Defence Recreational Association.

It is claimed by one of our well-known writers that wherever they are, and whatever be their job, British people will always manage to provide themselves with outdoor and indoor sports. Civil Defence was no exception and, although their chief pre-occupation was " Raids and the results thereof" and their time was largely occupied in dealing with actual raids or in training to deal with future raids, the personnel themselves organised football, cricket, swimming, netball, chess, darts, discussion groups and table-tennis sections and welded them, first, into District Organisations and, later, into a Walthamstow Civil Defence Recreational Association.

We had our successes, (and our defeats), but there is no doubt that the existence of the organised sports movement helped to while away many a tedious hour and assisted in maintaining the morale and fitness of our Services. Among our most notable successes in the field of recreation, we were able to claim the following:-

This money started the Town's Fund which became Civil Defence's main War Charity, and any and every occasion was taken thereafter by the personnel to swell the funds for the benefit of their more unfortunate townsmen. It was, however, no easy matter to keep such an organisation going. Apart from the fact that our part-timers were only regularly available once or twice per week and the whole-time people were only on duty on alternate days, (and were usually employed elsewhere on the intervening days), the whole personnel were spread over ten District Centres, ten First Aid Posts, 58 Wardens' Posts, Rescue Service H.Q., Low Hall Farm, Shadow Headquarters and C.D. Headquarters.

The task of organising people on such a mixture of duties diffused to such an extent was one which might have appalled any but the stoutest hearts, and those who managed to keep the Recreation organisation going in such circumstances deserve the highest credit.

Educational Activities.

In addition to purely recreational activities we endeavoured, with a limited degree of success to stimulate "further education," and facilities were made available during duty-hours at the S.W. Essex Technical College. Discussion Groups were also encouraged by London Region and, from the inception of this form of educational activity among Civil Defence personnel, Walthamstow played a prominent part. By arrangement with London Region, twelve Leaders were trained at the City Literary Institute, one of whom became Chairman of Group 7 Discussion Group Committee. Eleven groups were formed at District Centres and First Aid Posts, and so successful were some of our groups that, when eminent educationalists from the United States and elsewhere wished to visit a typical Group Discussion, Walthamstow became one of the first ports of call.

Fire Guards.

Reference to recreation cannot be complete how¬ever without mention of the Fire Guards Darts Clubs. At the risk of a slander action, it may be mentioned that it was generally believed (outside the Fire Parties) that even if it had no stirrup pump any Party would be disgraced if it had no Dart Board!

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