The siren sounded and 50 squeezed into the shelter

The Police Fire Brigade's exercise
 in Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth in December 1939

The Police Fire Brigade's exercise in Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth in December 1939

The Royal Garrison Church

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Seen in December 1939, we see members of the Portsmouth Police Fire Brigade on exercise in Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth.

In the distance is Commercial Road.

A rare sight, Britains two largest battleships, Rodney and Nelson at sea together

A rare sight, Britains two largest battleships, Rodney and Nelson at sea together

Behind the firemen can be seen a bomb shelter for everyone’s use. It had room for 50 people. Can you imagine it? I thought not.

When the siren sounded people out shopping ran to the shelter and crowded in, possibly for hours at a time.

The only lavatory was usually just a bucket behind a curtain, yes literally. This was used by both men, women and children.

Add to that the aroma of cigarettes and cigars and sweat on a hot day. I should think many would have made a run for home.

An accident at the junction of London Road and Southwick Road, Cosham in 1969.

An accident at the junction of London Road and Southwick Road, Cosham in 1969.

n On the opposite page is a rare photograph showing two of Britain’s most powerful battleships together off Southsea seafront.

It is rare as HMS Rodney was based at Plymouth whilst HMS Nelson was based at Portsmouth. Both survived the war.

The sister battleships, only two of the class were constructed, carried 16in guns across three turrets ahead of the bridge.

A relative secret kept until after World War Two, was that the bulkheads set under the waterline could be filled with water when needed.

Passing the signal box, a train from the dockyard passes the home signal and comes onto the main line at Portsmouth & Southsea High Level.

Passing the signal box, a train from the dockyard passes the home signal and comes onto the main line at Portsmouth & Southsea High Level.

When filled, the bulkheads acted like large pads against torpedoes, thus spreading their detonation across a large area and not doing as much damage as they might have done.

In this photo HMS Nelson is seen from the Rodney.

n The graffiti on the wall to the rear of the photograph on the bottom right, dates this photograph to the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

The lorry has come down Southwick Hill and tried to turn left into London Road but came unstuck.

n Below, left, we see a train from the dockyard about to enter the main line at Portsmouth and Southsea High Level, probably pulled by a class E1 0-6-0T.

I remember standing on the back wall of the Evening News offices in Stanhope Road and watching in fascination as the heavy load was hauled up the gradient to the High Level.

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