S-S-H

ramsgate shelters

The Thanet Advertiser 8th January 1916

Life becomes daily more complex in war time. “Twelve short, sharp blasts” I now murmur in my sleep. The possessor of a sadly inefficient memory, I have been endeavouring to learn by heart the latest musical exercise.
“Twelve short, sharp blasts” I repeat at breakfast, dinner, tea and before going to bed, with the hope that having impressed the instructions on my mind I may comport myself with calmness and with dignity when the siren sounds the shrill, short, sharp signals.
“To avoid confusion” runs the official notice, “the inhabitants are particularly requested to notice that this fire alarm signal is distinctive from the signal to be given in case of an aircraft raid or bombardment by ships, either at Ramsgate, Margate or Broadstairs.” The authorities are so considerate, so thoughtful, so motherly. Most people would be gratified for the warning. Alas – and I confess it with abject shame – I have quite forgotten the signal which is to be given in case of air raid or bombardment at either Ramsgate, Margate or Broadstairs.
My one recollection of the signal is not a happy one. I was shocked out of that sound slumber which is the just reward of the guiltless by an unearthly syrenical shriek – and for a week afterwards the life of some well-meaning but misguided official at Broadstairs would have terminated abruptly had he the misfortune to meet me.
Now, however, I am in calmer mood, and I wait in pleasant anticipation each Saturday morning for the gentle blast from Boundary Road. I should have been sorely disappointed had the instrumentalist been given a little holiday on Christmas morn. But at ten o’clock on the tick he cheerfully piped away his weekly serenade. “Twelve, short, sharp blasts.”

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