I have deliberately refrained in this record from praising the work of individuals. Where so many have rendered excellent service it would be impossible to mention names without the certainty of omitting some who deserve mention or alternatively recording so many names as to suggest indiscriminate inclusion.

I have been amazed at the work performed by scores and hundreds among Heads of Services, Staff Officers, District Officers, Supervisors, Party and Shift Leaders, Post Wardens (and the Deputies of all these) by the rank and file of the Official Civil Defence General Serivices-whether paid or unpaid-by all those who, in the Canteen, Rest Centre, Information and Invasion Defence Services, in the W.V.S., the Fire Guard or in other less well-known sections, were in the ancillary Services and by my own Headquarters Administrative Staff. To all of them I tender my humble admiration for their contribution and dedicate this record


Local Authorities and their staffs are by Statute, experience and tradition appointed and expected to deal with civilian problems and, in particular, with matters concerning Public Health, Public Highways and Education.

They were not designed to deal with wartime emergencies, but the following is a neces¬sarily brief (and, I fear, scrappy) account of the way in which the Local Government machinery in Walthamstow was used to deal with some of the problems arising from the impact of totalitarian warfare on a civilian community.

It has not been easy to determine on what basis the information should be presented. A strictly chronological record would have involved the mixing of diverse subjects in such a manner as to prevent any part of the picture being properly appreciated. Moreover, so many things happened simultaneously that one would require a series of palimpsests or the dissolving views of half a century ago to present this type of chronological picture adequately. Being restricted to the use of paper and ink I have, therefore, chosen the sectional method of presentation and have endeavoured to furnish a brief summary of the part played by each section of the Council's peace-time and war-time organisation in dealing with the local effects of the Second World War.

I have also endeavoured to provide such statistics as may make clear the tremendous amount of work involved for all concerned. It must be noted, however, that I have concerned myself only with those matters for which on behalf of the Local Authority I had some direct responsibility and have not endeavoured to cover any outside activities within the Borough.

The Prime Minister, in June, 1940, expressed the confident expectation that the British people would so bear themselves that though the British Commonwealth and Empire should last a thousand years men would still say " This was their finest hour."

I believe that this record will show that his hopes were well-founded in respect of the people of Walthamstow.

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