A Brief History of Civil Defence by Tim Essex-Lopresti

By Tim Essex-Lopresti

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A R House The Second Stand-down On 16th January 1968, the Prime Minister announced in a statement to the House of Commons that Civil Defence was to be placed on a ‘care and maintenance’ basis. Recruitment would cease immediately and the Auxiliary Fire Service, along with other Civil Defence services, would be formally disbanded on 1st April 1968. From all over the UK, a stockpile of AFS vehicles, equipment and uniform was taken to various Home Office supply stores. Despite there being the appliances and equipment in place to meet the predicted effects of the results of a nuclear attack and despite well rehearsed plans, the recruitment levels of men and women in the AFS never reached national targets.

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.

The Bombshell But within a few months all was changed. On the 16th January 1968 the Prime Minister (the Rt. Hon. …’. This unexpected and major change of policy was said to be part of the Government’s efforts to make devaluation work by means of a progressive and massive shift of resources from home consumption. com F Raine-Allen The unofficial Stand-down parade in Whitehall in March 1968. The protest had no effect on the Government decision. com 7. 1968 Stand-Down and West would be preceded by a deterioration in the political situation over a period of weeks rather than days and might spread over a longer period.

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