AS THE threat of war loomed 30,000 gas masks were distributed over three days throughout the borough in October 1938.
Chief Constable of Accrington Police, Mr C Walters, received emergency instructions from the Home Office that everyone in Accrington should be immediately equipped with a gas mask.
An appeal was made by the chief constable through the Observer that all air raid wardens, at home and away, should report for duty as soon as possible. Notices were also carried on screens at local cinemas asking people to come forward and help with the assembly of the masks.
Rhyddings High School assembly hall was soon covered in masks as willing volunteers unloaded them from lorries. Assembly work went on throughout the night in 11 different distribution depots across the borough, with many people working until their fingers were too sore to carry on.