The Siren Saga
Several attempts were made during the Second World War to obtain an air raid siren for Broadway.
The debate dragged on for three years and, at times, got quite acrimonious.

The old fire siren which was fitted to the police station roof, and no longer used to call out the brigade, was not suitable for use as an air raid warning. It was not powerful enough to be heard all over the village; in fact it was said to be inaudible, indoors, at a distance of two hundred yards! In 1940 Broadway Parish Council asked the Rural District Council whether a more powerful siren could be provided for the village. The RDC would not entertain this, as it was not the policy of The Ministry of Home Security to allow the use of air raid sirens in rural areas.
In December 1941 Broadway’s Head Warden, Major Tristram, again pressed the Parish Council to request a siren. At a meeting of his Fire Guards it had been suggested a petition be organised in support of a siren, but he considered a resolution from the Parish Council, forwarded to the Regional Commissioner and Ministry of Home Security, would in his words, "be more efficacious." Councillor John Morris commented that he failed to see what use an air raid warning would be, until some shelters were provided. The Parish Council decided to take no further action on the matter. But a month later, with the pressure still on, Mr A.B.Willams, the Chairman of the Council, called a meeting to discuss the advisability of requesting the authorities to install a siren. The meeting, which included Major Tristram, and Frank Parker, the Head Fire Guard, voted eight to six to ask the Regional Commissioner to consider, again, installing a siren in Broadway. The Commissioner once again refused on the grounds that it was actually Government policy to reduce the number of sirens.

A year later, in March 1943, the subject was raised again, this time at a meeting of the Rural District Council (R.D.C.), by Mr G.E.Knight of the Civil Defence. He argued there was now an instruction to sound the existing fire siren in the event of an air raid, and as it could not be heard all over the village a more powerful one should be provided. When the R.D.C. voted, nine council members thought a new siren was necessary at Broadway, but ten, including the two Broadway members, thought it was not.

A series of letters from villagers expressing strong opinions both for and against the proposed siren then appeared in the local newspaper. The argument rumbled on until a public meeting was convened to discuss the problem. The meeting, attended by two hundred people, voted unanimously in favour of the siren. So the Rural District Council had no option but to agree to provide one, pointing out that the cost, about £90, would have to be borne by the rate payers of Broadway. The Parish Council, faced with this expense, wrote to the Regional Commissioner of the Civil Defence. His reply settled the argument once and for all. He did not consider the population or degree of vulnerability justified a public warning siren at Broadway, and if every community irrespective of its size had a siren, their value as a warning would be reduced, and large sections of the population would be disturbed unnecessarily.

There had been two opposing views on the need for a siren. Those against it, including most of the Parish Council, argued it would cause unnecessary disturbance, as Broadway was unlikely to be the deliberate target of enemy bombers. There were, in any case, no public air raid shelters in the village where people could go if a warning were given. It seems those in favour, mainly the civil defence workers led by Major Tristram, considered that in addition to warning of air raids, it would be useful for calling out the emergency services, as at that time it could take anything up to half an hour to round everyone up when needed.