Do you have a relative who helped protect York from the Luftwaffe during WW2? Can you help recognise someone in long-forgotten photographs? If so, we’d love to hear from you!
As the Raids Over York project has highlighted in its coverage of the first six – soon to be seventh (this coming Saturday) – bombing raids on York during WW2, the role of the Civil Defence force was hugely important. It was also incredibly dangerous; nearly 7,000 Civil Defence workers were killed in Britain during the war, including in York.
In total, 2,554 ordinary people risked their lives as Air Raid Wardens, medical orderlies, and firewatchers in York as part of the civil defence of their city; finishing their daytime jobs and duties, then donning their Civil Defence service helmets or grabbing their medical kits and heading out on Civil Defence duty, often until the early hours and regardless of how bad the weather was.
The names of many of York’s Civil Defence forces are sadly now lost to us (although as families we may know of stories of individual relatives who volunteered.) Fortunately, Explore York’s Archive Team have located a small number of group photographs of Civil Defence volunteers.
You can really get a feel for the individual characters in the photographs. (Please save the images and open to zoom in on the individual sitters!) You can see that many have their day or work clothes on underneath their uniforms – different ties, blouses etc; some have smart shoes on, others army-style boots.
A few of the photos detail the names of the people in them, which is great as it allows us to put a face to a name – some of whom are mentioned in the official A.R.P. reports of the raids.
But two of the photos – both photos in this post – give only a few or no names. It’s a bit of a long shot, but as we know how popular genealogy is these days, and how good people’s historical and internet research skills are – let alone the sheer quality of local history knowledge out there! – we would really like to hear from you if you know or can recognise any of the people in the photos?
- Do you know any of the volunteers in the photos?
- Are any of them a family descendant?
- Are you the young lad sitting in front of one of the groups?
- Do you recognise where the photos were taken?
If so, please contact the Raids Over York team using the reply section below, emailing RaidsOverYork@outlook.com, or via our social media channels.