A bomb had completely wrecked the telephone switchboard, demolished the auto-manual room, smashed the great power batteries. One night operator was dead at his post, the other badly hurt.
In a back room, the engineer had saved himself by diving under a sink as the place came down about his ears. Miles away, at centre of communications, the Chief Engineer was constantly calling “Bridlington” and getting no reply. . .
This was the situation which confronted workers of the Post Office in Yorkshire one night during the first year of the war. With what courage and skill the men of the G.P.O. faced up to it I learned when went to Regional Headquarters at Leeds and talked to officials there.
It was only one of several such stories, each giving to post office workers their place among the heroes of the Home Front.
Today these men are facing problems which cannot yet fully described to the public—and are defeating Hitler at every turn.
At Bridlington, for example, in spite of enormous technical difficulties, they triumphed. Within 12 hours, most them hours of darkness and confusion, they had restored the town to the country’s network vital communications.
Right at the start, virtually before the dust had settled, the initiative was taken by that engineer who had crawled out of the wreckage. Though badly shaken, he brushed aside all suggestions that he should go home, and did not, in fact, leave until communications had been restored.
At Regional Headquarters, there are “drawers full of plans for dealing with every eventuality.” Each Post Office worker, recorded by name knows what his special job will be. At Bridlington, however, there was no special reserve plant actually in situ in emergency premises.
Even so, starting in the earliest hours of the morning, and working with the resources they had, those Post Office workers had by noon restored telephone service to 24 selected subscribers.
“Of course,” said an official, “at a bigger place we would have done it quicker “
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