Mexborough & Swinton Times, January 20, 1940
Sunday A.R.P. Exercise Grumbles
Next Conisborough Test to be on Week-Day
Conisborough A.R.P. workers rehearsed war in a “leaflet” raid last Sunday – and when all was over the nurses found nothing quite so good as a “nice cup of tea”.
The next big A.R.P. exercise in the Conisborough and Denaby district will be on a week-day. Mr. J. A. Harrison, the Don Valley area A.R.P. organiser, announced this to the “Times” on Monday. Some dissatisfaction has been expressed among the part-time volunteers at the practice of holding these exercises at a somewhat inconvenient time on Sunday afternoons, and it had been reported that the air raid wardens at Denaby had expressed themselves against Sunday practices for the future.
Fewer on Duty
The number of volunteers on duty throughout the area at the second large-scale exercise in the No. 4 sub-area of the Don Valley A.R.P. Division on Sunday seems to have been less than on the previous occasion. The exercise, however, ran smoothly than before the workers having benefitted from the lessons which were then revealed.
Mr. Harrison stated that “it was a successful exercise and a large improvement on the last practice”. It was hoped to run another one in the sub-area in the near future.
An “inquest” into the week-end´s proceedings will be held at the report Centre, Castle Farm House, Conisborough, next Tuesday when it is also expected the date of the next practice will be arranged.
The exercise comprised 21 incidents, which in contrast to the first exercise when they were prepared by the Report Centre staff at Conisborough were planned by Mr. Harrison´s staff in Doncaster so that the proceedings would be a complete surprise to the workers. Conisborough and Denaby again “suffered” most severely, having five and four incidents with which to deal respectively, including the effects of two plane crashes at Conisborough, while at Edlington, Rossington, Warmsworth, Tickhill and Bawtry the volunteers had two incidents each and at Wadworth and Braithwell, which were brought into the practice for the first time, there was one incident each.
Several innovations were introduced, and these included the appointment of several official observers who visited one or two incidents to watch how the volunteers worked and to gather other information for reports to be submitted to the inquest, and the operation for the first time of a new control panel at the Conisborough Report Centre, the “nerve centre” for the whole district. This panel which helped to illustrate the disposition of the various services on duty for the day, was used in conjunction with the usual map system and proved exceedingly effective.
Visitors to the Report Centre were Mr. G. O. Randerson (Don Valley assistant A.R.P. organiser), Mr. E. L. Howden (head of the Don Valley warden organisation) and Mr. M. W. M. Launders (Mexborough sub-divisional chief warden), and they afterwards toured the area. Several mistakes occurred, but they were of a minor type.
The most interesting incident in Conisborough was that in Park Road where the gable end of a house was supposed to be in danger of collapsing following the “explosion” of a high explosive bomb. Nine people were “trapped” under the wreckage and two others were lying clear of the debris. Gas and Water mains were “fractured” and there was said to be considerable panic. Special constables were on duty and they diverted traffic along Hameline Road, Daylands Avenue and St. Peter´s Road, and the stretcher parties of St. John Ambulance men made an impressive sight as they arrived by car and at the “double”.
The casualties, who, as in other incidents in the area were Scouts, members of the Conisborough and Denaby Imps movement and other volunteers, were “rescued” and speedily and efficiently placed on stretchers and covered with rugs and then removed to the Church Hall by the special emergency ambulance. The rescue party immediately on arrival began shoring up the building.
The Fire Brigade under Captain J. Waterhouse, assembled for their duties at the Fire Station at the Council Offices and they had four “fires” to “fight”, and in one, their quickest “turn out” in which they had to travel to Wadworth Street, Denaby, they had the water on within 3 ¾ minutes of leaving the Council offices.
At the Church Hall and in Denaby more than 100 first aid workers attended. Thirty “casualties” had to be treated at the Church Hall where De. D. M. Bell and Mr Norman Hulley were in charge, and about 15 at Denaby, where Dr. D. T. Clark and Mrs. C. J. Pickett had control. Mr. Hulley, who stated that they were fairly well satisfied with the progress of the proceedings, mentioned that in view of the weather conditions the casualties had to face and in order also to give the workers at the Church Hall practice it was decided that on this occasion all the patients from Conisborough should be brought direct to the Church Hall and not bandaged on the scene. At Denaby the patients were treated in the mobile unit and then taken to the Baths Hall: on the last occasion they were brought up to Conisborough.
At The Priory Mr. G. R. Hill (ambulance officer) had two ambulances and four private cars available while at Denaby there were two ambulances, the mobile unit and one car. The ambulance workers were engaged in four incidents at Conisborough and three in Denaby. At the Report Centre, where Mr. A. W. R. Taylor (control officer) was in charge and Police Inspector, Moxon (Edlington) was also in attendance, 17 people were on duty. Section Commander C. E. Webster was in charge of the Conisborough special constables, who carried out their duties exceptionally well and the Head Warden (Coun. A. M. Carlin) and his deputy (Mr. A. E. Platt) was on duty in Conisborough and Mr. Pacey (Deputy Head Warden) in Denaby. One rescue party and one decontamination squad operated, for the urban district.