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Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010
Sirens have been sounding the warning since 1937
Victoria Tower
Amongst the 14 sites of air raid sirens is Victoria Tower in St Peter Port

Guernsey's public warning sirens are more familiar now for their use on days of remembrance, but they have always retained their true purpose.

Sirens were first installed around the island in 1937 with World War II looming on the horizon.

The sirens were first used for their intended purpose in June 1940 when St Peter Port harbour was bombed.

From 1950 to their removal in 2010 they were the responsibility of the Civil Defence Committee.

When the sirens were first installed a lot of islanders volunteered to become Air Raid Wardens, first aid and rescue personnel and took part in many exercises in the build up to World War II.

Following the Occupation of the Bailiwick in 1940 the Air Raid Precautions Committee continued to be responsible for the sirens, although under direction form the occupying forces, until the Committee's leader was deported in 1942 when the sirens fell under direct control of the occupiers until the liberation.

Liberation Day 2009
The sirens have been heard every Liberation Day since 1979

In 1950 the States began work on setting up a civil defence organisation and in 1952 a Mr Jehan was named as civil defence officer.

A part of his responsibilities regarded the maintenance of the air raid sirens, which remained an important piece of States equipment throughout the years of the Cold War.

The network of sirens was quickly developed with new versions being installed in 1953 and additional ones in 1954 making the alert more audible across the whole island.

As the technology developed the British Home Office recommended various changes to the control of the sirens, which Guernsey complied with as more sirens were installed following tests revealed the sirens were still inaudible in some locations.

In 1978 Civil Defence Committee member Dave Fletcher suggested that the sirens be tested on specific days of the year to avoid confusion and it was decided that Liberation Day would be the best time.

So since 9 May 1979 the alert and all clear have sounded every year.

The final development of the system took place with the installation of three new sirens in 1980 covering even more of the island.

In the early 1980s replacing the network was investigated but it was deemed too costly and the sirens were left as they were until 2010 when it was decided the sirens had reached the end of their useful life and a more modern warning system would replace them.

Based on research conducted by Phil Martin, civil protection coordinator.




SEE ALSO
Sirens loss 'not a public risk'
29 Jan 10 |  Guernsey
Removing sirens 'may cost lives'
27 Jan 10 |  Guernsey
Island's warning sirens removed
26 Jan 10 |  Guernsey

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