Archive ID: 1982-011-17

Air raid warden

Date Created: undated

Donor: Southeast Chicago Historical Project (SCHP)

Media Type: Photograph


Photograph of air raid warden from St. Archangel Michael Serbian-Orthodox Church located on 98th Street and Commercial Avenue in South Deering. According to Southeast Chicago resident Bernice Grann, during World War II, precinct captains were placed in charge of their city blocks. They worked to organize their neighbors to collect water in their basements and organize air raid and black-out drills intended to make it more difficult for opposing bombers to locate targets. Bernice recalled, “In case there was an air raid, they would have meetings, maybe once a month. And I was the secretary [of my block club]. They would inform all the people on the block of different things that were going on and how they could protect themselves…We had to tell them that certain nights, if the whistles would blow, there’d be an air raid. [Just] practice. But of course, luckily, we never had an air raid here. Just practice blackouts.”

More generally, Air Raid Wardens during World War II were volunteers in the Civilian Defense program. Industrial areas that produced munitions like Southeast Chicago were considered to be particularly at risk. The insignia stripes of Air Raid Wardens signify “many duties.” According to air raid manuals, those duties included:

(1) Observing lights showing during a blackout and warning occupants of the building

(2) directing persons in the street to shelter

(3) reporting to the control center any fallen bombs

(4) reporting fires to the control center and assisting in lighting incendiary bombs as soon as they fall

(5) detecting and reporting to the control center the presence of gas

(6) administering elementary first aid

(7) assisting victims in damaged buildings

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Churches   Community Life   War Experiences   WWII   1940-1949 (WWII Era)   South Deering   Other/Unknown   Photograph   1982-011   Coats   Hats   Helmets   Military   St. Michael   St. Michael Archangel   Uniforms