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By Tim Essex-Lopresti

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Com 8. Civilian Animals into enemy held territory. One batch from the Portsmouth area went over to Normandy with the troops on D-Day and it was one of them that brought the first news back that the landing had been successful. Remembered Alongside When the first national Civil Defence Memorial was set up at The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire it was decided that it would be only right to honour the animals who served alongside the humans so a smaller stone, donated by members of the National Animal Rescue Service, was erected next to the main memorial stone with the inscription: CIVIL DEFENCE 1939-1945 REMEMBERING ALL THE ANIMAL FRIENDS WHO SERVED WITH SUCH LOYALTY AND BRAVERY Every year in November at the time of Remembrance a small posy of flowers is laid amongst the red poppies to all the animals and birds that suffered and died in the service of mankind in that conflict.

Filling the Gap Although economies had dictated that civil defence preparations were to be so drastically reduced no guarantee could, of course, be given that the risk of nuclear war could be excluded totally. Planning continued but on a greatly diminished scale so that in a period of tension civil defence measures could, if considered necessary, be raised. The Minister of State, Home Office, explained that local authority plans would need to provide for the setting up, at the appropriate time, an emergency committee of the authority and for arranging machinery for executive action in circumstances in which local authority procedures would not be practicable.

H Cartwright Archive equipped buildings still stand and are to be manned in an emergency - who by? The doubts about the viability of Home Defence without trained personnel stand out. The defence of the people in wartime demanded that there should be no misunderstanding, but the Government would not submit its scheme to an impartial study. Without doubt a noble service had been sacrificed on the altar of financial expediency. A spontaneous movement, spearheaded by a march of some 2,000 volunteers down Whitehall failed to move the Government but the Government edict could not destroy the knowledge of the success and efficacy of a job well done over two decades.

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A Brief History of Civil Defence by Tim Essex-Lopresti


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