News from the eve of World War Two

Mid Sussex Times
Mid Sussex Times

These articles were published in the Mid Sussex Times early in 1939 as the threat of war came closer.

February 14 1939: ‘Don’t believe the rumours, there will be no war this year.’ This is the theme of a special article in the March number of ‘Prediction’. A contributor describes a recent seance at which politicians and others speaking from the other side foretold peace as a certainty for some years. ‘Prediction’ recalls its previous prophecies on the international crisis over Czechoslovakia when it predicted some months in advance that the situation will be solved by peaceful means and through a Four-Power Pact. Remembering how correct this prophecy proved to be, one hopes that the peaceful forecast will be no less literally fulfilled.

February 28 1939: Half of Burgess Hill would be in ruins now if the ‘air attack’ which brought the ARP services into action had been a real one. ‘Bombs’ fell in different areas in the eastern half of the town and firemen, first aid porters, decontamination squads and rescue squads, looking like Martian monstrosities with their anti-gas clothing and respirators, worked feverishly, putting out hypothetical fires, neutralising the effects of equally hypothetical gas, tending to surprisingly cheerful ‘casualties’ and rescuing people in imaginary danger. Despite the pouring rain, many inhabitants turned out to watch the manoeuvres - something which they would not have wanted to do had the raid been a real one - and the children thought it was a grand game. The operations were not bereft of humour wither. A lady warden with a ‘broken leg’ and no gas mask was heard to exclaim as she was lifted onto a stretcher: “If you let me down, I’ll never forgive you.” The rain proved rather a spoilsport and it put out a least one ‘incendiary bomb’ - a magnesium flare - before the firemen could direct a hose on it.

March 7 1939: The value of storing canned foods for use in a national emergency was emphasised at a series of lectures and demonstrations held in the demonstration theatre of Haywards Heath District Gas Company’s showrooms. The opening ceremony was performed on Saturday afternoon by Dr WB Stott (medical officer for health) and there were demonstrations each afternoon and evening by Miss Beal of the Canned Foods Advisory Bureau. Everybody hoped, of course, there would not be a war but it was wise to be prepared for such an eventuality.

Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.