27 OCTOBER 1939, Page 37


PRIZES were offered for the best two lists of six rules to guide the conduct of ordinary people in war-time. This was a difficult competition to judge, because almost every entry (and they were numerous) contained, side by side with two or three sensible suggestions, at least two that were trite. There was complete agreement among competitors upon the desira- bility of practising the virtues of calmness, economy, obedience to regulations, and scepticism towards rumours. Numerous competitors discouraged undue optimism and the proffering (or acceptance) of advice. Many suggestions to guide behaviour during an air-raid were given, of which the most dynamic was Mr. H. A. Bartlett's "When you hear the Sirens-.Sing. Remember how Orpheus (? Odysseus) triumphed over them " ; and the most resigned Miss Janet Parker's " In an air-raid fall on your knees and pray." Mrs. D. Given is commended for " Remember that Gott knows better than you," as is Sagittarius (and others who wrote in the same vein) for "Don't disorganise your house- hold by neglecting duties which only you can do, in order to rush into war work which thousands of others can do as well." The first prize is awarded to Mr. A. M. Demon and the second to Mr. Allan M. Laing, whose verbal dexterity out- weighs the som..wliat suspicious nature of the advice enshrined in his second verse.


t. If there's an air raid on a frosty night, and you're shivering in your dug-out, remember the poor devils " up there," numb with cold at 20,000 feet. They're only obeying orders, after all.

2. If you must curse somebody when everything goes wrong, remember Hitler's as good as anyone ; and merits your wrath a great deal more than his unfortunate victims, the German people. 3. If an air-raid warden tells you that you're showing a crack of light somewhere, remember that it's politer-and cheaper-not to throw him out.

4. If someone's views on " the situation" don't coincide with your own, remember, before laying hands upon him, that we're supposed to be fighting for the liberty of the individuaL 5. If the shortcomings of the Ministry of Information arouse your anger, remember that it, too, like so many other organisations these days, is learning its job. And be grateful that circumstances in which such a Ministry is needed do not arise more often. 6. If the war fills you with depression, remember that neither this nor any other war can extinguish all the lights of civilisation. They may go out temporarily in one part of the globe, but else- where are certain to burn even brighter than before.


SECOND PRIZE Even in war the norm is good form:

let a nun eat and sleep and earn his keep.

But there's a prejudice in favour of sacrifice ; and in war-time honest craft should end up with an overdraft.

A man should be as cheerful as he can and never be the first to believe the worst.

He may think lots of things rum and be dumb ; but he must proclaim the fact when freedom's attacked For the rest it seems best he should strive to keep alive and, whatever the war 's for, pray without cease for peace.

Aux,: M. LAING.