Skegness at War, compiled by Majorie C. Wilkinson

Skegness at War, compiled by Majorie C. Wilkinson

A5 size booklet, 34 pages, published privately by the author in 2007 (SBKWSO)

From the introduction: The following information concerns Skegness during the Second World war. It has been interesting to follow the change from a busy seaside resort (as it is now) to a town ready for war, and also to find out information
about local residents of Skegness, who were in different parts of the world, and their contribution to the war effort.

Gas masks were issued during 1938 for every resident, and people began to realize there was a real possibility of war.

War was declared by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on Sunday morning September 3rd 1939, and the summer season ended abruptly.

Many local building firms built tank traps and bases for 6 inch guns from Jackson's corner, Roman Bank, Ingoldmells, to Gibraltar Point, there were mines and huge coils of barbed wire, blocking every entrance to the beach, and square concrete tank blocks across the Seacroft golf course, much to the horror of the members. Small concrete air raid shelters were erected on every road and avenue and members of the Pioneer Corps went to the beach at Seacroft, then a minefield, and built a gun emplacement, a week later a large naval gun arrived from Portsmouth, its great muzzle pointing out to sea.

Communal Air-raid Shelters were erected in Lumley Avenue and Scarborough Avenue, and Morrison indoor Shelters were available for residents for self assembly, these were constructions of steel angle uprights at each corner with a top of steel plate, table height, the sides were covered with wire mesh, inside was a mattress.

Blackout curtains had to be fixed tightly against the windows, to stop any glimmer of light, also sticky tape had to be fixed across the glass to stop bomb blast damage. Cars could only use their side lights, causing many accidents, also there were many railway carriages in the railway sidings of the railway station waiting in case of mass evacuation.

Butlins Camp was also taken over by the Admiralty during 1939 and became H.M.S.Royal Arthur.

Many children were evacuated from Grimsby to Skegness, and some of them later returned after the war to settle in the town.

Many bombs were dropped on Skegness and the surrounding area right up to the end of 1942, but after this date it was relatively quiet, apart from a few incidents, as the war had taken a different course across Europe, and the wartime restrictions eased during 1943 when the beach was reopened during the summer season between 6am and 9pm.

Military and local residents continued with their lives, the forces training for their part in the war elsewhere, and the residents coping with rationing, the blackout and general hardship until the end of the war, although the R.A.F. training school closed down in October 1944, after providing training for approximately 80,000 airmen.

The condition of the booklet is generally good. The cover has several scuffs and blemishes, but the staple spine is intact and all pages are intact, unblemished and tightly bound.