Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
The Bulloch Herald reported on March 12, 1942 that the federal and state governments were setting up agencies to control the war-time operation of the counties.
The Herald reported that they would soon begin a series of articles covering topics such as the new groups to be formed: Air Raid Wardens, Bomb Disposal Squads, Demolition and Disposal Crews, Nurses Aid Corps, and the Emergency Food and Housing Corps.
The most important officer of all, the Air Raid Wardens' duties would be to manage all air raid blackouts, oversee the operation of air raid shelters, organize gas and bomb detection crews, and oversee the offering of emergency first aid.
Statesboro native Evelyn Lee Long Shearouse was a director and instructor of official Air Raid Warden Schools in Southeast Georgia.
America's coastal cities illuminated vessels traveling along the coastline. German subs had begun using that backlighting to target and then sink those cargo ships without any warning.
Therefore, the United States government soon implemented blackouts similar to those being observed throughout Great Britain in American coastal cities.
Unfortunately, some American cities refused to obey blackout regulations, citing the effects it would have on their tourist revenues. German submariners serving along the American coastline referred to this continued illumination in their journals as "the second happy time."
German U-boats sunk ships on two different occasions off of the Georgia coast near Saint Simons Island. This prompted both the Civil Air Patrol and the Georgia State Guards Boat Details to begin sweeps of the Savannah area coastline.
Although not on the coast, Statesboro's city government decided to impose blackouts, the first of which took place on Dec. 24, 1941. According to Roger Hollend, the Statesboro Air Raid warden, it was 100 percent successful. The blackout began when, at 9:30, fire sirens rang throughout the city.
Immediately afterwards, both the Darby and Howard Lumber Companies sounded their own steam whistles. For the next half hour, Statesboro was completely blacked out. Hal Macon, operator of the Georgia Theater, said the showing of movies would continue uninterrupted as long as all outside lights were turned off.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at email@example.com.