This brass hand bell is inscribed A.S. 1942 with the Military Broad Arrow. I has a wooden handle with bronze bell and clanger. There is a split near top of the wooden handle but in general the item is in excellent condition...it stands 10 1/2" in height with a diameter of 5 1/8" at bell mouth. It would have used in World War II to signal the 'All Clear' after air raids. During the war, the German Air Force bombed heavily populated areas and important targets such as factories and stations. Air raids were the biggest danger to the British population - over 60,000 people died in air raids during the war, and whole areas, including large parts of London, were reduced to rubble. A hand bell RINGING was one of the signals and sounds of an air raid. A warbling siren, or blasts on a hooter signaled the beginning of an air raid. Then a continuous siren, or the ringing of the hand bell, let people know that the attack was over. People followed a drill to take shelter whenever there was an air raid. When they heard the siren, everyone streamed out of workplaces, classrooms and homes to take shelter in the nearest underground station, basement or Anderson shelter in the back garden. They then waited, often for many hours, until they heard the signal that the danger had passed. The sirens and hooters were loud and could be heard across many streets, covering a wide area. But some shelters, like underground stations, were deep below the ground, and the signals couldn't be heard. In these cases the A.R.P. warden in the shelter received the All Clear by telephone or messenger, and rang the hand bell to let everyone know that it was safe to leave.
At Molloy's MEGA ANTIQUES CENTRE, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
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