Documentation from the second world war period


I call it a collection, but it wasn’t planned as such … nevertheless the fact, that we received a multitude of information leaflets issued by the authorities during the war on subjects, ranging from the alarming  “If the invader comes” to the mundane “Your Anderson shelter this winter,” is down to the Matson family.  A selection of which accompany this article.

The Matsons are a long standing Benfleet family living until recently at 75 St Mary’s Road.  Miss Betty Matson has now moved to Rochford, but before she did so, she passed a lot of local ephemera to the Benfleet Community Archive.

These leaflets were of their time and treated as redundant after the war …… hence their scarcity now.  We are therefore indebted to two generations of the family for holding on to things, though I doubt whether Betty, who had the task of sifting through and finding homes for all sorts of material when moving house, fully appreciated the honour!

These documents are in some cases personal as in the Home Guard certificate of proficiency and belonged to Charles L. Matson, Betty’s father, who had the misfortune to live through two world wars and the good fortune to survive both.  As regards the first he was undergoing training in 1918 and therefore missed the horrors of the front line.

His training notebook entitled  “Notes on gun, gears and sights” was made at No 1 School of fighting, R.A.F. Turnberry, September 1918. It starts with the Vickers Gun and ends with the Constantinesco, the timing gear as attached to the Vickers Automatic gun.  I suspect the latter was to enable the gun to fire through the propellers.

In the second world war we find him signing up as an Air Raid Warden as early as 1938 and then the Home Guard  in 1943.  I assume you couldn’t be  in both at the same time …..imagine Mr Hodges and Captain Mainwaring working together!  Unlike the fictional character this bank manager was a private.

Thank you, Betty.

Remember to click on documents to enlarge the text.

Councils requested to make plans to deal with the possibility of air raids as early as 1937
The local response
County Council advice
form used to record incidents . This particular incident is believed to be part of a training exercise and does not relate to a real event.
If you are unlucky !
ARP volunteers working over four hours were entitled to refreshments to the tune of 6d..." a temporary concession without prejudice " !
Certificate appointing Charles L. Matson as an Air Raid Warden
Home Guard certificate of proficiency for Charles L Matson
From the first world war

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