Killed on roads - blackout

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Wesley Wright, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Wesley Wright

    Wesley Wright Member

    Recently in a war publication I NOTICED THAT over 1200 people had been killed on the roads in the "blackout" in December 1939.
    Did this horrendous loss of life continue.
    Wesley Wright
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Wesley there were regular official articles detailing death rates in connection with road deaths etc published in The Times.
    I have read of people drowning ... when they accidentally fell into canals etc during blackout.
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    It wasn't just Road traffic accidents that increased.


    See this website for a little information.

    Home Sweet Home Front - BRITAIN IN THE BLACKOUT

    Tom I know were that is and it is easy to see how it happened even all those years ago.
  5. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    A Great Grandmother of mine (Dutch) fell into the canal in the street where she lived in March 1941 and drowned in a blackout. A distant relative who is an archivist in the same town sent me copies of the the newspaper report and the police log books. Interesting to have the details, but sad as well.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Times, Monday, Mar 04, 1940
    an advert

    Attached Files:

  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Times, Monday, Jan 20, 1941:

    Attached Files:

  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Times, Tuesday, Jan 16, 1940
    The Times, Tuesday, Feb 02, 1943

    Attached Files:

  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Regarding the RAF,reading through RAF station ORBs will reveal the deaths from road accidents caused fundamentally by the "blackout".

    Overall,the wartime restriction on vehicle lighting meant that driver vision was impaired, running the risk of a collision with a with other vehicles,motor cyclists,people on bicycles or with pedestrians.In fog there was a much increased risk of collision and death.

    Regarding the RAF,there was an incident,probably representative of many such incidents where 7 lives were lost (5 from No 51 Squadron and 2 airmen from SHQ ) on 7 February 1943 when a RAF lorry collided with a bus at Knottingley,West Yorkshire when returning to RAF Snaith after a night out in Pontefract.I think all are buried at Selby

    Such was the poor visability at night that military convoys had standing instructions on speed and distance between vehicles.Headlamps were masked such that the lumen output of headlamps were of little help to the driver and pedestrians alike.

    All precautions were based on the enemy being denied seeing vehicles at night from the air.As regards air raid precautions and the blacking out of light from homes, homeowners were at the mercy of the authority of air raid wardens who would draw attention,sometimes in an aggressive manner to any chink of light,no matter how small it was.In reality,there was little chance of chinks of light giving any inteeligence to the Luftwaffe.
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The level of deaths also has to be put in the context of the terrible toll throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Safety provisions were minimal and tyres didn't grip. Roads were hardly gritted and there were still wooden setts and tram lines.

    During one of my Googling forays, I came upon the online summaries of East Sussex Coroner's reports during the pre-war years. The number of deaths from head injuries to all classes of road user was horrendous. Even minor bumps frequently lead to the death of the cloth-capped motorcyclist and the flapper in the chair, let alone cyclists and pedestrians. No intensive care and life-saving operations then. The lucky ones just got a stretcher to the cottage hospital.

    Quite how the motor vehicle ever came to be accepted is a puzzle although I seem to recall that deaths from collisions with horses were significant in 19th century cities (and you wouldn't get me up on one :))
  11. Wesley Wright

    Wesley Wright Member

    Thanks to all for the information--death figures on the Home Front are often seen, but they appear to be from air raids only.
    Wesley Wright
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Just to add a modern day perspective to the figures, putting my Police hat on on average until recently there is an average of ten traffic realted deaths a day on UK roads amounting to until recently around 3,500 deaths a year. If memory serves me well it fell below 3,000 for the first time in some 20 odd years in 2008.
  13. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Rich, IIRC the sainted Bob Collier editor of The Motorcycle and eventually The Classic Motorcycle once wrote that his trip to work at one time in his life included an early roundabout - paved with wooden setts but WITHOUT the cleated metal edges....basically an outdoors parquet floor! :mellow:

    Commuting on an old 350 Rover - when there was ANY moisture in the air he fell off on the roundabout. EVERY time he went over it in ANY degree of damp.

    The classic bike mags sometimes run articles on the wartime blackout, and so has Britain At War on occasion.

    ....and to all the above-mentioned hazards - you ALSO had to add the death and injury rate in the first 18 months of its history from trigger-happy Home Guard patrols and sentries! :mellow: More than you might think...
  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  15. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    Whilst looking at the Police ROH website, i was surprised how many Police officers were killed whilst either cycling to work int he blackout, or whilst at work knocked down by vehicles.


Share This Page