If an emergency should arise

Local invasion plans

By Daphne Knott

Defence of the Realm Act 1914
Form for reporting aircraft
Collecting stations
Warning the civil population

The police had an important role to play if the unthinkable happened and the Germans actually invaded. Under the Defence of the Realm Act 1914, local organising committees around the country drew up plans for foiling a German invasion and protecting the local population.

In Hertfordshire, the committee was at pains to stress that there was ‘no cause for uneasiness or alarm in connection with the German threats of invasion’. Further to this, an official notification stated that the Hertford County Police Reserve, or Special Constabulary, a 4,000 strong force, would be assisting the regular police in directing local people to places of accommodation in the event of invasion. The elderly and infirm would be removed to a place of safety also by the Special Constables in special vehicles.

Full emergency invasion plans also included provision for the destruction of surplus food and forage. Everyone would be allowed to take with them the food they could carry, but all surpluses for both humans and livestock would be destroyed. Once again, the Special Constables would be in charge of this. They would additionally be identifying rest and feeding stations for cattle and local constables would be detailed to remove cattle to these stations when appropriate.

Acting under military orders, Special Constables would also be responsible for destroying bridges and picketing roads. A list of roads around the county to be picketed was drawn up in 1914. For essential travel, the Special Constables would be in charge of petrol rations.

This page was added on 01/05/2013.

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