Workshop Wednesday – Going Green

The 4.5″ Artillery Gun is going into a more appropriate colour! The tube to hold the wiring is now cut to size and installed, too.

It’s amazing what you can find in the depths of the workshop – we needed a charge regulator for the QL Tipper, and one turned up! Apologies for terrible pic.


Harry’s been in and tinkering with the limber for the 25 pounder. The overrun brakes are now functioning nicely, the wheels have been swapped for better ones (hopefully where the tyre doesn’t go down every few days!), and the whole thing has been cleaned up. The modern reflectors were also removed.

Make Do Monday – Morrison shelter

Following last weeks post about the Anderson Shelter, this week we are looking at the Morrison shelter!

The Morrison shelter’s official name is the “Table (Morrison) indoor shelter”, it was designed by John Baker and named after Herbert Morrison who was the Minister of Home Security at the time. The idea for the Morrison shelter was fed from the realisation that there was a lack of indoor shelters as not enough homes had cellars.

Morrison-Shelter-InstructionsImage source

The Morrison shelter measured approximately 6 ft 6 inches long, 4 ft wide and 2 ft 6 inches high. With a steel plate “table” top, welded wire mesh sides, and a metal lath floor. Three tools were supplied with the pack that you built up inside your home and it had 359 parts altogether. A lot of people used the shelter as a table and had bedding inside of it.


Image source

Half a million Morrison shelters had been distributed by the end of 1941, with a further 100,000 being added in 1943 to prepare the population for the expected German V-1 flying bomb.

At the Dig For Victory Show in previous years, we have had half a genuine Morrison shelter on display. This was salvaged from a garage, where it had been used as a work bench, and restored once again by members of the IMPS.
Another chance find has brought the remains of another one. This had been quite heavily modified and effectively turned upside down. Volunteers of the Shopland Collection have been cutting it apart and preparing to reassemble it the right way around!


Workshop Wednesday – 9 Weeks To Go…

First Workshop update in a while, plenty to report on….

Pressing on with the 4.5″ Gun, the undersides of the legs have been cleaned up and painted. We’re measuring up new tube to take the electrical cables (the brakes are electronically activated) and need to drill and tap bolt holes to take the saddles that hold the tube.

We also took the opportunity to take the whole gun outside and turn it 180 degrees to make it easier to work on.

We also did a test on one of the searchlights in preparation for the show. It fired up rather well! This is a wartime searchlight that has at one point been rebuilt with more modern internals. Mark’s also been working on the second Morrison Shelter, this has been converted into a bench at one point, so needed cutting apart as the base had become the top!

A new manifold and carburettor for the Bedford QL Tipper has arrived, this will have the faces machined and new gasket fitted.

Members of the gun crew partook in a training weekend at Larkhill held by The Garrison Artillery Volunteers. While the weather ranged from the glorious to the atrocious, a fantastic and educational time was had by all. Practical lessons and training accompanied informative presentations, all rounded off by in- and out-of action drills on Salisbury Plain!

Set building continues apace. The inner walls of the bombed out house have been clad ready to be wallpapered. The brick sheet has arrived for the exterior, and the second floor has been built, and promptly put in the fire to weather it! Paul managed to find some appropriate lead piping and furniture, as well as making Herringbone bracing for the floor joists.

We had a large chunk of polystyrene left over from the Dinosaur project, we are hoping to use this as the ‘smashed’ bricks on the end of the walls. To cut away large portions without making a mess, we made up a hot wire using the bonfire, some fence wire, and pliers.

Meanwhile Paddy set to with stencilling all the yellow tank signs Dave has painted ready for this year. Keep an eye out for these around Somerset!

Make Do Monday – Anderson Shelters

The Anderson shelter is one of the most recognisable reminders of the Blitz. Around one and a half million shelters were distributed between February 1938 and the outbreak of the war. Over 2.1 million were raised during the war.

Designed in 1938 by William Paterson and Oscar Carl Kerrison in a response to a request from the home office to develop a shelter for air-raids. Sir John Anderson who set the task was convinced that the problem of providing air-raid shelter for the civil population could never be fully solved without finding some way of bringing the shelter to the people, instead of trying to bring all the people to communal shelter. The Anderson shelters were built around homes for up to six people per shelter and could protect against blasts and ground shocks.

Here is a video showing how a well constructed shelter could save lives:

After the war many Anderson shelters found a new use as garden sheds.

Long time supporters of the Show, the Invicta Military vehicle Preservation Society (IMPS) salvaged the remains of three Anderson shelters and one caravan chassis, combining all of them into a mobile display. Here it is in the Victory Gardena the show.


Volunteers of the show, Dave and Lindsay, restored an Anderson shelter for their back garden and it took pride of place outside the Victory marquee at the Dig for Victory Show!


Sources: Air-raid shelter, prototype, Gordano Homefront.