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WWII Air Raid Wardens in Longmeadow

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Alice Atkinson's resignation letter from her Air Raid Warden position February 1942

The “Longmeadow Civilian Defense Committee” distributed these Air Raid Warden signs to be displayed in the windows of homes of the residents appointed and trained as precinct Air Raid Wardens. They indicated to the bearer, “you are qualified to take charge of your neighborhood during a raid and are responsible for keeping householders on your beat informed on A.R.P matters.” A letter sent to Mrs. William Leete on Lincoln Park from Mrs. Alice Atkinson on Norway Street shows Mrs. Atkinson, age 62, “obliged to give up my post as Air Warden of Norway Street. I find that the other War activities which I am engaged in are more to my aptitude than that of an Air Raid Warden.” What a polite way to resign from a volunteer position! It’s easy to understand why Alice may have found the position more than she wanted to manage. Per the 1942 Annual Town Report, the precinct Air Raid Warden was trained to administer first aid and “to contact each household or to pass on to him suggestions and advice for the protection of his home. At the time of a raid the post warden enforces blackout, patrols his post, reports damage and directs the A.R.P. services to the scene of the incident.” This was serious business. The Annual Report mentions that Longmeadow participated in several successful regional and state blackouts in 1942, “The cooperation of the townspeople was excellent, there being only minor violations.” Good work, Longmeadow … although we’d love to know what those minor violations were.

Sources: 1. Longmeadow Historical Society Archives 2. 1942 Annual Town Report for Longmeadow

Contributed by Melissa M. Cybulski, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member

Originally published May 20, 2021

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