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Dr. Gordon Describes British Air Raid Organization to Harvard's Air Students

Hospital Director Tells of Bombings


Methods and organization of Air Raid Precautions in Great Britain were discussed last night by Dr. John E. Gordon, director of the American Red Cross-Harvard Hospital in Salisbury, England, Dr. Gordon who has just returned to America, spoke at a regular meeting of the University ARP course in Emerson Hall, telling of his experiences in bombing raids.

Air raid shelters in England are improvised," said the director, "and the people choose their own." He spoke of conditions in London, where the populace immediately preferred subways to prepared structures. The subway platforms are continually packed solidly with people stacked like cord wood, and all efforts to transfer the crowds to other places have been unsuccessful. Londoners stick to the uncomfortable subways, which they feel are safe.

Scattered Shelters Better

Experience in Britain is teaching that dispersion is better than protection, according to Dr. Gordon. "No matter how good a shelter may be," he said, "a direct hit is a direct hit, and the loss of life may be enormous." This principle is leading to increase use of the Anderson shelter, which

Most people, however, do not use shelters at all. Especially after a long lull in bombing, the subways in London are almost empty, with citizens preferring to take their chances in their own homes. Among the unique shelters used by Londoners are the arches of the railway viaducts, under which they ran instinctively because "their fathers used them to escape Zeppelin attack."

Land Mine Dropped

Dr. Gordon told of the control centers, where telephone reports are received and all rescue facilities assigned. At one of these centers, he said, a telephone message came in one day from roof spoters, who reported that a land mine had been dropped, and kept reporting its course until they ended with "'It's coming this way . . . carry on fellow . . ." as the mine exploded.

The Harvard Hospital has its own air raid precautions post, and this was put to test in three invasion maneuvers. In these rehearsals the hospital was called on to care for all the "casualties" in the area. Unfortunately, the "Germans" won two of the three war games.

Following Dr. Gordon's talk, Major L. S. Johnson of the First Civilian Area spoke to the class on defense against chemical attack.

Four more meetings remain in the 15-hour course which, combined with 10 hours of Red Cross training will lead to a Federal Air Raid Warden insignia. About 200 people are enrolled in the classes open to students, Faculty, and employees of the University

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