Jon Mills, author of many Home Front books, shared the following personal anecdote with me recently.
In the early 1970s I was a trainee librarian working in my local library in Putney, south west London. Knowing my interest in WW2 one of my colleagues suggested I have a look in the library's basement which had "something to do with the war". What I discovered was a small ,abandoned ARP sub-control centre now used as a store. Over the next few weeks I spent many lunch hours down there exploring the debris and rubbish, In one room the anti-gas ventilation/filtering system was still complete, in another was a pile of wartime fund raising flags and collecting tins of the Their Day campaign, in a third a pile of paperwork and ledgers, one of them a record of ARP equipment issued to local wardens which contained the signature of my grandfather a local warden, for receiving a steel helmet.
The best find in the largest pile of rubbish was a German MG 15 aircraft machine gun, complete with ball mount and a piece of the fuselage surrounding the mount. The barrel was complete but bent at a right angle about half way down, evidence of some great impact on landing. I decided that much as I would have liked it , eyes might have been raised amongst my fellow staff and I reburied it in the pile of dirt whence it came. As far as I knew no German aircraft crashed in the Borough of Wandsworth but I'd be happy to be proved wrong.The basement disappeared in a subsequent rebuilding.
I did however rescue the stores ledger which still resides in my collection some 50 years later.
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