FROM OUR ARCHIVES (1940): Advice for civilians in the event of an enemy attack

This is an excerpt from a piece in the Westmeath Independent of Saturday, July 20, 1940.

What the civilian population should do in the event of an attack on Eire is described by Mr Aiken, Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures.

Mr Aiken announced that during the next week or so a pamphlet would be circulated to each householder in the country which would outline the duties of civilians in the event of an attack made upon Eire.

“Our young men have come forward in great numbers, and every civilian should do his utmost to be a help to them," he said.

"During the last six weeks around 120,000 men have enrolled for service. It is a magnificent response in the short time and I hope that it will continue to increase at the same rapid rate of the past week when over 25,000 enrolled."

Mr Aiken said that every civilian must realise that his district might become the scene of military operations, and in such an eventuality it is his duty to obey the following instructions:— 1—Don't hinder the Army by crowding the roads or by doing anything which would hamper its operations against the enemy, but rather do everything possible to help. 2.—Don't co-operate with or assist the enemy in any way. 3.—Obey all instructions issued by the Army, the Gardai, the Local. Security Force, and the A.R.P. Services. 4—Learn First Aid. Protect yourself and your family from bombs, shells, bullets, exposure, and lack of food and water. 5—Assist in protection and sustenance of your neighbour. ; 6-—Keep a stout heart! Don't believe rumours and don't help to spread them. Report them to the Gardai.

"You should remain in your own home or district, in town or country, if hostilities break out unless you are ordered to do otherwise by the proper authorities," continued Mr Aiken. ''Remember evacuation will be ordered on all occasions when it is thought wiser and safer to move women and children or men to other districts. Under no circumstances are you to take to the roads because a rumour goes out that orders have been issued for evacuation.

"In this regard remember that in certain eventualities the wave lengths of out radio stations could be used by an enemy to give out instructions regarding evacuation. Therefore, familiarise yourself with the voices of our radio announcers, and do not move from your own home or district unless you get instructions from the Army, the Gardai, the Local Security Forces or the ARP Wardens.

"If hostilities begin suddenly, and if there are road, Post Office, shop or advertisement or other signs on your district which indicate the district and the direction to other places you should take them down and hand them to the Gardai. If it is not possible to take them down they should be covered over or destroyed.”