Catalogue description Ministry of Home Security: Research and Experiments Department, Registered Papers

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Details of HO 192
Reference: HO 192
Title: Ministry of Home Security: Research and Experiments Department, Registered Papers

These papers deal with observation of and research into allied and enemy bombs, bombing methods and effects, fire prevention and air raid damage both in the United Kingdom and in enemy occupied territories. The papers were registered in RE, RE/B, RE/F, RE/H, RE/O and RE/U series and comprise correspondence and related papers, technical reports and assessments, and surveys of air raid damage to towns and to various categories of domestic buildings, industrial and transport undertakings, and shelters, together with related maps, plans and photographs. The series also contains minutes and papers of the War Damage (Earth Movements) Main Committee and the Air Ministry Incendiary Panel.

Date: 1939-1948
Related material:

For Joint Fire Research Organisation papers see DSIR 48

Other papers of Research and Experiments Department see HO 191

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Ministry of Home Security, Air Raid Precautions Department, Research and Experiments Branch, 1939-1940

Ministry of Home Security, Research and Experiments Department, 1940-1945

Physical description: 1702 file(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Administrative / biographical background:

The problem of fire research in wartime was essentially a study of the effects of incendiary attack and the means of combating them. As it was soon realised that the knowledge gained in wartime would have permanent value, the Research and Experiments Department engaged in comprehensive scientific study of fire raising, fire prevention and fire fighting. In July 1941 increased co-ordinating and supervisory powers in respect of fire prevention were given to the regional commissioners, other government departments with fire prevention responsibilities devolving them on their regional representatives. These changes and the dissolution of the Fire Prevention Executive Committee of the Cabinet led to a revision in October that year of the arrangements for providing scientific advice to the Home Office and the Ministry of Home Security on fire prevention problems, the functions of the chief scientific adviser on research and experiment being widened to cover fire fighting and fire prevention.

A new Fire Research Division (F Division) of the Research and Experiments Department was formed under Lord Falmouth in September 1941 to deal with fire problems calling for advice or research arising from the work of fire watchers, fire-fighting parties or works fire brigades. The division comprised Analysis, Research and Establishments Services Sections. In order to secure the fullest co-ordination of experimental activities and establish priorities, the Civil Defence Research Committee constituted a special Fire Research Sub-committee, with Lord Falmouth as chairman, in October 1941. F Division relied heavily on the reports of the Bomb Census Field Organisation and also collected basic information on fires not caused by the enemy. After the dissolution of the ministry, the division continued under the Home Office until it was transferred in April 1946 to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The Technical Intelligence Section was formed at the outbreak of war as an intelligence and information unit, within the Research and Experiments Branch, constituting a technical inquiry service at headquarters and directing the operations of a field staff of 19 regional technical officers. In May 1940 it was designated the Technical Intelligence and Liaison Section. It grew into the Technical Intelligence Division (B Division) as a result of the expansion of its bomb census field organisation and was responsible for assessing the current civil defence situation on behalf of the department.

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