Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Instructions in the Event of Invasion

Recruitment Poster 1915 (Wikimedia)

Thursday 28th January 1915: Instructions for the guidance of the civilian population of Bedfordshire in the event of a German invasion have been issued by the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Constable of the County. They have been approved by the Government and are to be followed as soon as the military authorities declare a state of emergency. The official advice is that:

  1. All motors, bicycles, horses, mules, donkeys, carts, carriages and other vehicles, harness, petrol, launches and lighters should be moved to a preconcerted place or as far as practicable from the area of military operations. If they cannot be immediately moved, they must be destroyed or rendered useless. 
  1. No attempt, except under orders from the military authorities or the police acting under military orders, should be made to burn, cut or destroy any of the following: bridges, railway rolling stock, electric light or power stations, telegraph or telephone wires, wireless stations, waterworks, sluices or locks, piers or jetties, and ferries. Prompt assistance should, however, be given to the military authorities to carry out any of the foregoing operations which they think desirable.
  1. All tools, pick-axes, saws, barbed wire, and other equipment required by the military authorities should be placed absolutely at their disposal; and all persons physically fit should be prepared to do any work required of them.
  1. It is of the utmost importance that the movements of troops and artillery should not be hampered by the presence of numbers of civilians on the roads. Any persons leaving the district should avoid the roads required by the military forces. These will be as far as possible indicated to them by the police. If advancing troops are met upon the roads, civilians must immediately pass into fields and lanes and leave the roads clear.
  1. The civil population should remain quietly at home. They are on no account to be in possession of fire arms. This does not apply to members of recognised Volunteer Corps who will be entitled to the rights of combatants if acting under officers and wearing the fixed distinctive badge.
  1. Unless special instructions are give by the military or police, supplies should not be destroyed. The military authorities may, at their discretion, destroy or require the Police to destroy, wholesale stores of provisions, granaries, and flour mills. Retail and private supplies may be left untouched. Any person refusing to destroy or render useless his property when ordered by the military authorities will lose all claim to compensation if it is destroyed or rendered useless by the military or police.
  1. The following roads will probably be used by the troops: Bedford – St. Neots – Cambridge; Bedford – Shefford – Hitchin; Bedford – Ampthill – Luton; Bedford – Willington – Sandy; Bedford – Newport [Pagnell] – Stony Stratford; Wellingborough – Irchester – Higham Ferrars – St. Neots; Northampton – Houghton – Yardley Hastings – Bedford. If livestock is ordered to be removed it should be driven in a westerly direction by roads not used by the troops.
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette, 26th January 1915

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