With the rise of Hitler and the expansion of Nazi influence in Europe during
the 1930s, fears
of war grew amongst the population. Even children sensed the danger and picked
up some of the news…..
|“The long wooden building at the top of Tower Hill was 'The Lawn
Pavilion'. In 1938, my Mother took me there to see a film news
documentary. It was about Neville Chamberlain's return from a meeting
On our exit, she looked very concerned and explained to me that
there could be war! "
|"I remember the declaration of the
war and the church bells ringing for the last time until the end of
(Late of the UK)
and Gas Masks....
Arrangements were made to provide basic necessities and protection for the
|"The things I do remember are the ration books and strange little
gas masks that we found in a cupboard long after the war ."
… and, despite the horror of it all, there were those lighter moments. For
example, there was the fitting procedure for gas masks in Belmont Road...
|The white building in the photo of Belmont Road below belonged to
the "South Eastern Gas Board and was used as a showroom.
|Above: The Belmont Road
Gas Works pictured in 1953... now the site of the Windsor House
Before World War II, people would go there to try on gas masks. The
shop had a "curtained off", narrow corridor and folk were made
to go through this wearing their new gas masks. Shop assistants would
then pump tear gas into the corridor - woe betide folks if the masks
Mum Mollie Fallon
There were other locations for gas mask fitting and some
reluctance amongst the younger generations to get involved....
|My earliest war memory is having my gas mask fitted in a
building somewhere between the harbour and Jacques arcade. I
remember screaming the place down!
This reluctance didn't go
unnoticed by officialdom. Some versions were produced in
bright colours to encourage children to use them. I have a feeling that they
were called Mickey Mouse masks
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