Air raid precautions

Mary Couchman, ARP warden

MRS. MARY COUCHMAN, twenty-four-year-old warden in a small Kentish village, sat smoking a cigarette in the wardens' post. She was resting between warnings.

Suddenly the sirens sounded again.

She saw her little boy, with two friends, playing some distance away.

The cigarette still in her hand, Mrs. Couchman ran out of the post. Bombs began to fall as she ran.

The children, Johnnie Lusher, aged four, Gladys Ashsmith, aged seven, and her four-year-old son Brian, stood in the street, frightened by the scream and thud of the bombs.

Gathering them in her arms, she huddled over them, protecting them with her own body.

Bombs were still thudding down only a short distance away.

There she crouched, to save the children from flying shrapnel and debris.

A "Daily Mirror" photographer was on the spot when the incident occurred.

He took this picture.

Afterwards, when the planes had passed over, he told Mrs. Couchman, "You are a brave woman."

"Oh, it was nothing. Somebody had to look after the children," was her reply.

Even allowing for journalistic exaggeration, it's a great photograph.

Source: Daily Mirror, 17 October 1940, 1 (though this copy of the photo is from In Focus).

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4 thoughts on “Air raid precautions

  1. Gabrielle

    Sad,yes; but Hitler asked , no BEGGED warmonger Churchill for PEACE 22 times! Before you judge Germany think about it!

  2. Post author


    Whether you mean to or not, you are repeating Nazi propaganda. Hitler was hardly a pacifist. Nobody forced him to occupy or invade Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxembourg -- all of which happened before Churchill became prime minister. Accepting Hitler's peace offers meant accepting his conquests and trusting his word. The former was not moral; neither was sensible.

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