Looking Back: More tributes to unsung heroes


As we are coming to an end of our series on World War Two in Eastbourne, we continue paying tribute to the unsung heroes.

N Hardy, the editor of Eastbourne 1939-1945, writes, “Wardens. Men and women from all walks of life gave freely of their time to this service. They were always on the alert as the ears and eyes of the ARP Controller.

“First Aid Personnel. These people performed a marvellous service to the town. A special word of praise is due to the ladies of the First Aid Service who handled many nasty jobs without turning a hair.

“Mortuary Service. Publicity was never desired by the people of this service but a tribute must now be paid to them. Their job was gruesome in the extreme and firm nerve was called for to make less horrible the havoc caused by sudden death.

“Local Civil Defence Instructors trained service personnel in rescue, incendiary bomb and firefighting, anti-personnel bombs, anti-gas etc.

“There was an observation post on top of police headquarters by civil defence personnel. Their reports went to Fighter Command and further tightened the mesh of closely knit anti aircraft defences – especially useful in helping to defeat the low flying raider.

“Civil defence Communications. This little known section of Civil Defence deserves to be brought to the notice of our readers. Few people knew that in the event of a blitz on the town and the severing of the communications with regional control and other points, there were facilities at Ocklynge Cemetery (of all places!) to enable local ARP services to remain contact with the outside world.

“There was also an Emergency telephone Exchange at 16 Upperton Road and the police had alternative HQ in Baslow Road which was also alternative Control centre.

The assistant ARP office H Wood was also Local Communications Officer.

There was a Messenger Service responsible for reports by motorcycle and these despatch riders linked all Control points throughout the country.